Location: Enclave within the city of Rome, Italy
Geographic Coordinates: 41 54N, 12 27E
Area: 0.44 km2
Borders: 3.2 km land boundaries with Italy, no coastline
Vatican City is the world's smallest independent state. The Papal Summer Residence at Castel Gandolfo and a number of other buildings in Rome all enjoy special extraterritorial rights.
Religions: Roman Catholic
Languages: Italian, Latin
Currency: 1 Vatican Lira = 100 centesimi
Note: The Vatican lira is on a par with the Italian lira and under the terms of the Concordat with Italy, Vatican currency is legal tender throughout Italy, and Italian currency is legal tender within Vatican City.
Radio Stations:: Radio Vaticana (3 AM Stations and 4 FM Stations)
Head of State: Pope John Paul II
System of Government: Sacerdotal-Monarchical
Suffrage: All Cardinals of the Catholic Church aged 80 or under.
Vatican Information Service
11 June 1997
VATICAN CITY, JUN 11, 1997 (VIS) - Vatican City State was created with the Lateran Pacts stipulated between the Holy See and the Kingdom of Italy on February 11, 1929, and ratified on June 7 of the same year. Its legal entity, as a sovereign body of public international law distinct from the Holy See, is universally recognized.
Vatican City State is located not far from the right bank of the Tiber River in Rome. The state's territory - the smallest in the world - takes up an area of nearly 44 hectares. It is bordered by walls and, in St. Peter's Square, by the circular travertine strip in the pavement that joins the two arms of the Bernini colonnade.
The entrances to Vatican City are: the Arch of the Bells, to the left of the entrance to the Vatican Basilica, under the bells; the Bronze Door, which is the official entrance to the Apostolic Palace, and is situated at the end of the right hand Bernini colonnade; Saint Ann, the usual entrance to the Vatican, named for the parish church, on "Via di Porta Angelica," 100 meters to the right of St. Peter's Square; the Petrine or "Sant'Uffizio entrance," by which one enters the Paul VI Hall; the Perugino entrance, to the south of the Vatican; and the entrance to the Vatican Museums, on the north side.
The population of Vatican City State, made up of persons of different nationalities, mainly Italian, comprises than 700 inhabitants. It is constituted by those who have Vatican citizenship, some 400, and those authorized to reside there while preserving their original citizenship, around 300.
The state's form of government is an elective monarchy for life. The Head of State is the Supreme Pontiff, who has full legislative, executive and judicial power. During the period of a vacant see, these powers are assumed by the Sacred College of Cardinals.
Representation of the state and its relations with other states is reserved for the Supreme Pontiff, who exercises it through his Secretariat of State. Both Vatican City State and the Holy See, a sovereign body of the Catholic Church, enjoy international recognition. They are members of international organizations, participate in international conferences with permanent observers and adhere to the respective conventions.
All the territory of Vatican City State is under the protection of the Hague Convention of May 1954, regarding the care of cultural goods in case of armed conflict. The state is thus recognized, even in international conventions, as a moral, artistic and cultural patrimony worthy of being respected and protected.
Vatican City State has its own currency and issues its own postage stamps. Vatican currency circulates legally in both Italy and the Republic of San Marino, by virtue of special treaties signed with each. The license plate of vehicles listed in the register of Vatican automobiles is S.C.V. The international symbol is V.
Vatican City State comprises the following bodies: the Vicariate of Vatican City State, with its Ecclesiastical Tribunal; the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State, which coordinates the General Secretariat of the Governorate and on whom depend in turn the General Directorates of: Pontifical Monuments, Museums and Galleries; Technical Services; Economic Services; Health Services; General Services; the Vatican Observatory; Archaeological Studies and Research; and the Pontifical Villas.
Also under the direction of the Secretariat of the Governorate are: the Security Corps; the Vatican Pharmacy; the Commission for Personnel and the Disciplinary Commission; the Tribunals; the Permanent Commission for the Care of Historical and Artistic Monuments of the Holy See; and the Health Assistance Fund.