Checked content

Vatican City

Related subjects: Europe; European Countries

Background Information

SOS believes education gives a better chance in life to children in the developing world too. SOS Child sponsorship is cool!

Vatican City State
Stato della Città del Vaticano
Flag Coat of arms
Anthem: " Inno e Marcia Pontificale"  (Italian)
"Pontifical Anthem and March"
Location of  Vatican City  (green)in Europe  (dark grey)  —  [Legend]
Location of  Vatican City  (green)

in Europe  (dark grey)  —  [Legend]

Capital Vatican City
41°54′N 12°27′E
Official languages Italian
Ethnic groups Italians, Swiss ( Swiss Guards), other
Government Ecclesiastical,
 -  Sovereign Pope Benedict XVI
 -  President of the Government Giovanni Lajolo
Independence from the Kingdom of Italy
 -  Lateran Treaty 11 February 1929 
 -  Total 0.44 km2 ( 231st)
0.17 sq mi 
 -  July 2009 estimate 826 ( 220th)
 -  Density 1877/km2 ( 6th)
4,859/sq mi
Currency Euro (€) ( EUR)
Time zone CET ( UTC+1)
 -  Summer ( DST) CEST ( UTC+2)
Drives on the right
Calling code +379
Internet TLD .va

Vatican City /ˈvætɨkən ˈsɪti/ or Vatican City State, officially Stato della Città del Vaticano (pronounced  [ˈstaːto della tʃitˈta del vatiˈkaːno]), which translates literally as "State of the City of the Vatican", is a landlocked sovereign city-state whose territory consists of a walled enclave within the city of Rome, the capital city of Italy. It has an area of approximately 44 hectares (110  acres), and a population of just over 800.

Vatican City was established in 1929 by the Lateran Treaty, signed by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Gasparri, on behalf of the Holy See and by Prime Minister Benito Mussolini on behalf of the Kingdom of Italy. Vatican City State is distinct from the Holy See, which dates back to early Christianity and is the main episcopal see of 1.166 billion Latin and Eastern Catholic adherents around the globe. Ordinances of Vatican City are published in Italian; official documents of the Holy See are issued mainly in Latin. The two entities even have distinct passports: the Holy See, not being a country, only issues diplomatic and service passports; Vatican City State issues normal passports. Very few passports are issued by either authority.

The Lateran Treaty in 1929, which brought the city-state into existence, spoke of it as a new creation (Preamble and Article III), not as a vestige of the much larger Papal States (756-1870) that had previously encompassed much of central Italy. Most of this territory was absorbed into the Kingdom of Italy in 1860, and the final portion, namely the city of Rome with Lazio, ten years later, in 1870.

Vatican City is an ecclesiastical or sacerdotal-monarchical state, ruled by the Bishop of Rome—the Pope. The highest state functionaries are all Catholic clergymen of various national origins. It is the sovereign territory of the Holy See (Sancta Sedes) and the location of the Pope's residence, referred to as the Apostolic Palace.

The Popes have generally resided in the area that in 1929 became Vatican City since the return from Avignon in 1377, but have also at times resided in the Quirinal Palace in Rome and elsewhere. Previously, they resided in the Lateran Palace on the Caelian Hill on the far side of Rome from the Vatican. Emperor Constantine gave this site to Pope Miltiades in 313. The signing of the agreements that established the new state took place in the latter building, giving rise to the name of Lateran Pacts, by which they are known.


A panorama of the country from atop St. Peter's Basilica

The Vatican climate is the same as Rome's; a temperate, Mediterranean climate with mild, rainy winters from September to mid-May and hot, dry summers from May to August. There are some local features, principally mists and dews, caused by the anomalous bulk of St Peter's Basilica, the elevation, the fountains and the size of the large paved square.

The Vatican City is the world's smallest state, being only a few acres.

In July 2007, the Vatican agreed to become the first carbon neutral state. They plan to accomplish this by offsetting carbon dioxide emissions with the creation of a Vatican Climate Forest in Hungary.


Territory of Vatican City according to the Lateran Treaty

The name "Vatican" predates Christianity and comes from the Latin Mons Vaticanus, meaning Vatican Mount. The territory of Vatican City is part of the Mons Vaticanus, and of the adjacent former Vatican Fields where St. Peter's Basilica, the Apostolic Palace, the Sistine Chapel, and museums were built, along with various other buildings. The area was part of the Roman rione of Borgo until 1929. Being separated from the city, on the west bank of the Tiber river, the area was an outcrop of the city that was protected by being included within the walls of Leo IV (847–55), and later expanded by the current fortification walls, built under Paul III (1534–49), Pius IV (1559–65) and Urban VIII (1623–44).

When the Lateran Treaty of 1929 that gave the state its present form was being prepared, the boundaries of the proposed territory were influenced by the fact that much of it was all but enclosed by this loop. For some tracts of the frontier, there was no wall, but the line of certain buildings supplied part of the boundary, and for a small part of the frontier a modern wall was constructed.

The territory includes St. Peter's Square, distinguished from the territory of Italy only by a white line along the limit of the square, where it touches Piazza Pio XII. St. Peter's Square is reached through the Via della Conciliazione which runs from the Tiber River to St. Peter's. This grand approach was constructed by Benito Mussolini after the conclusion of the Lateran Treaty.

According to the Lateran Treaty, certain properties of the Holy See that are located in Italian territory, most notably Castel Gandolfo and the major basilicas, enjoy extraterritorial status similar to that of foreign embassies. These properties, scattered all over Rome and Italy, house essential offices and institutions necessary to the character and mission of the Holy See. Castel Gandolfo and the named basilicas are patrolled internally by police agents of Vatican City State and not by Italian police. St. Peter's Square is ordinarily policed jointly by both.


Part of the Vatican Gardens

Within the territory of Vatican City are the Vatican Gardens (Italian: Giardini Vaticani), which account for more than half of this territory. The gardens, established during the Renaissance and Baroque era, are decorated with fountains and sculptures.

The gardens cover approximately 23 hectares (57 acres) which is most of the Vatican Hill. The highest point is 60 metres (200 ft) above mean sea level. Stone walls bound the area in the North, South and West.

The gardens date back to medieval times when orchards and vineyards extended to the north of the Papal Apostolic Palace. In 1279 Pope Nicholas III (Giovanni Gaetano Orsini, 1277–1280) moved his residence back to the Vatican from the Lateran Palace and enclosed this area with walls. He planted an orchard (pomerium), a lawn (pratellum) and a garden (viridarium).

Head of state

The Pope is ex officio head of state of Vatican City, functions dependent on his primordial function as bishop of the diocese of Rome. The term Holy See refers not to the Vatican state but to the Pope's spiritual and pastoral governance, largely exercised through the Roman Curia. His official title with regard to Vatican City is Sovereign of the State of the Vatican City.

His principal subordinate government official for Vatican City is the President of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State, who since 1952 exercises the functions previously belonging to the Governor of Vatican City. Since 2001, the President of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State also has the title of President of the Governorate of the State of Vatican City.

The Pope resides in the Papal Apartments of the Papal Palace just off Saint Peter's Square. It is here he carries out his business and meets foreign representatives.

The current Pope is Benedict XVI, born Joseph Alois Ratzinger in Bavaria, Germany. Italian Cardinal Giovanni Lajolo serves as President of the Pontifical Commission for the State of Vatican City. He was appointed by Pope Benedict XVI on 11 September 2006.

St. Peter's Square, the basilica and obelisk, from Piazza Pio XII


UNESCO World Heritage Site
Vatican City
Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List
View of St. Peter's Square from the top of Michelangelo's dome.
Country Flag of the Vatican City.svg Holy See
Type Cultural
Criteria i, ii, iv, vi
Reference 286
UNESCO region Europe
Inscription history
Inscription 1984 (8th Session)
Predecessor states

In this originally uninhabited area (the ager vaticanus) on the opposite side of the Tiber from the city of Rome, Agrippina the Elder (14 BC – 18 October AD 33) drained the hill and environs and built her gardens in the early 1st century AD. Emperor Caligula (31 August AD 12 – 24 January AD 41; r. 37–41) started construction of a circus (AD 40) that was later completed by Nero, the Circus Gaii et Neronis, usually called, simply, the Circus of Nero.

The Vatican obelisk was originally taken by Caligula from Heliopolis, Egypt to decorate the spina of his circus and is thus its last visible remnant. This area became the site of martyrdom of many Christians after the Great Fire of Rome in AD 64. Ancient tradition holds that it was in this circus that Saint Peter was crucified upside-down.

Opposite the circus was a cemetery separated by the Via Cornelia. Funeral monuments and mausoleums and small tombs as well as altars to pagan gods of all kinds of polytheistic religions were constructed lasting until before the construction of the Constantinian Basilica of St. Peter's in the first half of the 4th century. Remains of this ancient necropolis were brought to light sporadically during renovations by various popes throughout the centuries increasing in frequency during the Renaissance until it was systematically excavated by orders of Pope Pius XII from 1939 to 1941.

In 326, the first church, the Constantinian basilica, was built over the site that early Roman Catholic apologists (from the first century on) as well as noted Italian archaeologists argue was the tomb of Saint Peter, buried in a common cemetery on the spot. From then on the area started to become more populated, but mostly only by dwelling houses connected with the activity of St. Peter's. A palace was constructed near the site of the basilica as early as the 5th century during the pontificate of Pope Symmachus (reigned 498–514).

Popes in their secular role gradually came to govern neighbouring regions and, through the Papal States, ruled a large portion of the Italian peninsula for more than a thousand years until the mid 19th century, when all of the territory of the Papal States was seized by the newly created Kingdom of Italy. For much of this time the Vatican was not the habitual residence of the Popes, but rather the Lateran Palace, and in recent centuries, the Quirinal Palace, while the residence from 1309–77 was at Avignon in France.

Italian unification

In 1870, the Pope's holdings were left in an uncertain situation when Rome itself was annexed by the Piedmont-led forces which had united the rest of Italy, after a nominal resistance by the papal forces. Between 1861 and 1929 the status of the Pope was referred to as the " Roman Question". They were undisturbed in their palace, and given certain recognitions by the Law of Guarantees, including the right to send and receive ambassadors. But they did not recognise the Italian king's right to rule in Rome, and they refused to leave the Vatican compound until the dispute was resolved in 1929. Other states continued to maintain international recognition of the Holy See as a sovereign entity.

In practice Italy made no attempt to interfere with the Holy See within the Vatican walls. However, they confiscated church property in many other places, including, perhaps most notably, the Quirinal Palace, formerly the pope's official residence. Pope Pius IX (1846–78), the last ruler of the Papal States, claimed that after Rome was annexed he was a " Prisoner in the Vatican".

Lateran treaties

This situation was resolved on 11 February 1929 between the Holy See and the Kingdom of Italy. The treaty was signed by Benito Mussolini on behalf of King Victor Emmanuel III and by Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Gasparri for Pope Pius XI. The Lateran Treaty and the Concordat established the independent State of the Vatican City and granted Roman Catholicism special status in Italy.

World War II
Recent history

In 1984, a new concordat between the Holy See and Italy modified certain provisions of the earlier treaty, including the position of Roman Catholicism as the Italian state religion.


The politics of Vatican City takes place in an absolute elective monarchy, in which the head of the Roman Catholic Church takes power. The Pope exercises principal legislative, executive, and judicial power over the State of Vatican City (an entity distinct from the Holy See), which is a rare case of a non-hereditary monarchy.

Vatican City is currently the only widely recognised independent state that has not become a member of the United Nations. The Holy See, which is distinct from Vatican City State, has permanent observer status with all the rights of a full member except for a vote in the UN General Assembly.

Political system

View of the dome of Saint Peter's Basilica from Borgo Santo Spirito.

The government of Vatican City has a unique structure. The Pope is the sovereign of the state. Legislative authority is vested in the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State, a body of cardinals appointed by the Pope for five-year periods. Executive power is in the hands of the President of that commission, assisted by the General Secretary and Deputy General Secretary. The state's foreign relations are entrusted to the Holy See's Secretariat of State and diplomatic service. Nevertheless, the pope has full and absolute executive, legislative and judicial power over Vatican City. He is currently the only absolute monarch in Europe.

There are specific departments that deal with health, security, telecommunications, etc.

The Apostolic Palace

The Cardinal Camerlengo presides over the Apostolic Camera to which is entrusted the administration of the property and the protection of the temporal rights of the Holy See during a papal vacancy. Those of the Vatican State remain under the control of the Pontifical Commission for the State of Vatican City. Acting with three other cardinals chosen by lot every three days, one from each order of cardinals (cardinal bishop, cardinal priest, and cardinal deacon), he in a sense performs during that period the functions of head of state. All the decisions these four cardinals take must be approved by the College of Cardinals as a whole.

The nobility that was closely associated with the Holy See at the time of the Papal States continued to be associated with the Papal Court after the loss of these territories, generally with merely nominal duties (see Papal Master of the Horse, Prefecture of the Pontifical Household, Hereditary officers of the Roman Curia, Black Nobility). They also formed the ceremonial Noble Guard. In the first decades of the existence of the Vatican City State, executive functions were entrusted to some of them, including that of Delegate for the State of Vatican City (now denominated President of the Commission for Vatican City). But with the motu proprio Pontificalis Domus of 28 March 1968, Pope Paul VI abolished the honorary positions that had continued to exist until then, such as Quartermaster General and Master of the Horse.

The State of the Vatican City, created in 1929 by the Lateran Pacts, provides the Holy See with a temporal jurisdiction and independence within a small territory. It is distinct from the Holy See. The state can thus be deemed a significant but not essential instrument of the Holy See. The Holy See itself has existed continuously as a juridical entity since Roman Imperial times and has been internationally recognised as a powerful and independent sovereign entity since late antiquity to the present, without interruption even at times when it was deprived of territory (e.g. 1870 to 1929). The Holy See has the oldest active continuous diplomatic service in the world, dating back to at least AD 325 with its legation to the Council of Nicea. Ambassadors are accredited to the Holy See, never to the Vatican City State.

Military and police

Swiss Guard in their traditional uniform

Though earlier Popes recruited Swiss mercenaries as part of an army, the Pontifical Swiss Guard was founded by Pope Julius II on 22 January 1506 as the personal bodyguard of the Pope and continues to fulfil that function. It is listed in the Annuario Pontificio under "Holy See", not under "State of Vatican City". At the end of 2005, the Guard had 134 members. Recruitment is arranged by a special agreement between the Holy See and Switzerland. All recruits must be Catholic, unmarried males with Swiss citizenship who have completed their basic training with the Swiss Army with certificates of good conduct, be between the ages of 19 and 30, and be at least 5 ft 9 in height. Members are armed with small arms and the traditional Vatican Long Sword, and trained in bodyguarding tactics. The Palatine Guard and the Noble Guard were disbanded by Pope Paul VI in 1970. While the first body was founded as a militia at the service of the Papal States, its functions within the Vatican State, like those of the Noble Guard, were merely ceremonial.

The Corpo della Gendarmeria acts as a police force. Its full name is Corpo della Gendarmeria dello Stato della Città del Vaticano (which means " Gendarmerie Corps of the Vatican City State"), although it is sometimes referred to as Vigilanza, as a shortening of an earlier name. The Gendarmeria is responsible for public order, law enforcement, crowd and traffic control, and criminal investigations in Vatican City.

The military defence of the Vatican City is provided by Italy and its armed forces, given the fact that Vatican City is an enclave within the Italian Republic. Accordingly, Vatican City has no armed force of its own apart from the Swiss Guard. (See: Military of Vatican City)


Palace of the Governorate of Vatican City State

Legislative functions are delegated to the unicameral Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State, led by the President of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State. Its seven members are cardinals appointed by the Pope for terms of five years. Acts of the commission must be approved by the pope, through the Holy See's Secretariat of State, and before taking effect must be published in a special appendix of the Acta Apostolicae Sedis. Most of the content of this appendix consists of routine executive decrees, such as approval for a new set of postage stamps.

Executive authority is delegated to the Governorate of Vatican City. The Governorate consists of the President of the Pontifical Commission—using the title "President of the Governorate of Vatican City"—a General Secretary, and a Vice General Secretary, each appointed by the pope for five year terms. Important actions of the Governorate must be confirmed by the Pontifical Commission and by the Pope through the Secretariat of State.

The Governorate oversees the central governmental functions through several departments and offices. The directors and officials of these offices are appointed by the pope for five year terms. These organs concentrate on material questions concerning the state's territory, including local security, records, transportation, and finances. The Governorate oversees a modern security and police corps, the Corpo della Gendarmeria dello Stato della Città del Vaticano.

Judicial functions are delegated to a supreme court, an appeals court, a tribunal, and a trial judge. In all cases, the pope may choose at any time to exercise supreme legislative, executive, or judicial functions in the state.

The Country code prefix is SCV, and the only postal code is 00120 -- altogether SCV-00120.

Foreign relations

Vatican City State is a recognised national territory under international law, but it is the Holy See that conducts diplomatic relations on its behalf, in addition to the Holy See's own diplomacy, entering into international agreements in its regard. The Vatican City State thus has no diplomatic service of its own. Because of space limitations, Vatican City is one of the few countries in the world that is unable to host embassies.

Foreign embassies to the Holy See are located in the city of Rome; only during the Second World War were the staff of some embassies accredited to the Holy See given what hospitality was possible within the narrow confines of Vatican City—embassies such as that of the United Kingdom while Rome was held by the Axis Powers and Germany's when the Allies controlled Rome.

The size of Vatican City is thus unrelated to the large global reach exercised by the Holy See as an entity quite distinct from the state.

However, Vatican City State itself participates in some international organizations whose functions relate to the state as a geographical entity, distinct from the non-territorial legal persona of the Holy See.

These organizations are much less numerous than those in which the Holy See participates either as a member or with observer status.

They include the following seven, in each of which Vatican City State holds membership:

  • European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT)
  • European Telecommunications Satellite Organization (Eutelsat IGO)
  • International Grains Council (IGC)
  • International Institute of Administrative Sciences (IISA)
  • International Telecommunication Union (ITU)
  • International Telecommunications Satellite Organization (ITSO)
  • Universal Postal Union (UPU)

It also participates in:

  • World Medical Association
  • World Organization for Intellectual Properties (WOIP)


The reverse of the Vatican 1 coin produced in 2006 depicting the current pope, Benedict XVI.

The Vatican City State budget includes the Vatican museums and post office and is supported financially by the sale of stamps, coins, medals, and tourist mementos; by fees for admission to museums; and by publications sales. Moreover, an annual collection taken up in dioceses and direct donations go to a non-budgetary fund known as Peter's Pence, which is used directly by the Pope for charity, disaster relief, and aid to churches in developing nations. The incomes and living standards of lay workers are comparable to those of counterparts who work in the city of Rome. Other industries include printing, the production of mosaics and the manufacture of staff uniforms.

The Vatican also conducts worldwide financial activities, having its own bank, Istituto per le Opere di Religione (also known as the Vatican Bank, and with the acronym IOR). This bank has an ATM with instructions in Latin, possibly the only such ATM in the world.

Vatican City issues its own coins. It has used the euro as its currency since 1 January 1999, owing to a special agreement with the European Union (council decision 1999/98/CE). Euro coins and notes were introduced in 1 January 2002—the Vatican does not issue euro banknotes. Issuance of euro-denominated coins is strictly limited by treaty, though somewhat more than usual is allowed in a year in which there is a change in the papacy. Because of their rarity, Vatican euro coins are highly sought by collectors. Until the adoption of the Euro, Vatican coinage and stamps were denominated in their own Vatican lira currency, which was on par with the Italian lira.

The Vatican City State, which employs nearly 2000 people, ran a deficit in 2008 of over 15 million euros, but in 2007 had a surplus of 6.7 million euros.


Population and languages

Vatican Museums

Almost all of Vatican City's 826 (2009 est.) citizens either live inside the Vatican's walls or serve in the Holy See's diplomatic service in embassies (called " nunciatures"; a papal ambassador is a "nuncio") around the world. The Vatican citizenry consists almost entirely of two groups: clergy, most of whom work in the service of the Holy See, and a very few as officials of the state; and the Swiss Guard. Most of the 3,000 lay workers who comprise the majority of the Vatican workforce reside outside the Vatican and are citizens of Italy, while a few are citizens of other nations. As a result, all of the City's actual citizens are Catholic as are all the places of worship.

Vatican City has no set official language. Unlike the Holy See, which most often uses Latin for the authoritative version of its official documents, Vatican City uses Italian in its legislation and official communications. Italian is also the everyday language used by most of those who work in the state. In the Swiss Guard, German is the language used for giving commands, but the individual guards take their oath of loyalty in their own languages, German, French, Romansh or Italian. Vatican City's official website languages are Italian, English, French, German, and Spanish. (This site should not be confused with that of the Holy See, which uses all these languages, along with Portuguese, with Latin since 9 May 2008 and Chinese since 18 March 2009.)


360 degree view from the dome over the Vatican and out into Rome, showing most of Vatican City
Saint Peter's Square, facing Saint Peter's Basilica and the Circus of Nero

Unlike citizenship of other states, which is based either on jus sanguinis (birth from a citizen, even outside the state's territory) or on jus soli (birth within the territory of the state), citizenship of Vatican City is granted jus officii, namely on the grounds of appointment to work in a certain capacity in the service of the Holy See. It usually ceases upon cessation of the appointment. Citizenship is extended also to the spouse, parents and descendants of a citizen, provided they are living with the person who is a citizen.

Anyone who on loss of Vatican citizenship possesses no other citizenship, as judged by Italian law, automatically becomes an Italian citizen.

As of 31 December 2005, there were, apart from the Pope himself, 557 people with Vatican citizenship, while there were 246 residents in the state who did not have its citizenship.

Of the 557 citizens, 74% were clergy:

  • 58 cardinals, resident in Rome, mostly outside the Vatican;
  • 293 clergy, members of the Holy See's diplomatic missions, resident in other countries, and forming well over half the total of the citizens;
  • 62 other clergy, working but not necessarily living in the Vatican.

The 101 members of the Papal Swiss Guard constituted 18% of the total, and there were only 43 other lay persons with Vatican citizenship.


Michelangelo's Pietà is one of the Vatican's best known artworks.

Vatican City is home to some of the most famous art in the world. St. Peter's Basilica, whose successive architects include Bramante, Michelangelo, Giacomo della Porta, Maderno and Bernini is a renowned work of Renaissance architecture. The Sistine Chapel is famous for its frescos, which include works by Perugino, Domenico Ghirlandaio and Botticelli as well as the ceiling and Last Judgement by Michelangelo. Artists who decorated the interiors of the Vatican include Raphael and Fra Angelico.

The Vatican Library and the collections of the Vatican Museums are of the highest historical, scientific and cultural importance. In 1984, the Vatican was added by UNESCO to the List of World Heritage Sites; it is the only one to consist of an entire state. Furthermore, it is the only site to date registered with the UNESCO as a centre containing monuments in the "International Register of Cultural Property under Special Protection" according to the 1954 Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict.


Vatican's Railway Station


Vatican City has a reasonably well developed transport network considering its size (consisting mostly of a plaza and walkways). As a country that is 1.05 kilometres (0.6 mi) long and 0.85 kilometres (0.5 mi) wide, it has a small transportation system with no airports or highways. There is one heliport and a standard gauge railway connected to Italy's network at Rome's Saint Peter's station by an 852 metres (932 yd) long spur, only 300 metres (328 yd) of which is within Vatican territory.

Pope John XXIII was the first Pope to make use of this railway, and Pope John Paul II used it as well, albeit very rarely. The railway is mainly used to transport freight. As Vatican City has no airports (it is one of the few independent states in the world without one) (except for the aforementioned heliport), it is served by the airports that serve the city of Rome, within which the Vatican is located, namely: Leonardo da Vinci-Fiumicino Airport and to a lesser extent, Ciampino Airport, which both serve as the departure gateway for the Pope's international visits.


The stamp vending machine of the Vatican Postal Service.

The City is served by an independent, modern telephone system, the Vatican Pharmacy, and post office. The postal system was founded on 11 February 1929, and two days later became operational. On 1 August, the state started to release its own postal stamps, under the authority of the Philatelic and Numismatic Office of the Vatican City State. The City's postal service is sometimes recognised as "the best in the world" and mail has been noted to get to its target before the postal service in Rome.

The Vatican also controls its own Internet TLD, which is registered as ( .va). Broadband service is widely provided within Vatican City. Vatican City has also been given a radio ITU prefix, HV, and this is sometimes used by amateur radio operators.

Vatican Radio, which was organised by Guglielmo Marconi, broadcasts on short-wave, medium-wave and FM frequencies and on the Internet. Its main transmission antennae are located in Italian territory. Television services are provided through another entity, the Vatican Television Centre.

L'Osservatore Romano is the multilingual semi-official newspaper of the Holy See. It is published by a private corporation under the direction of Roman Catholic laymen but reports on official information. However, the official texts of documents are in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, the official gazette of the Holy See, which has an appendix for documents of the Vatican City State.

Vatican Radio, the Vatican Television Centre, and L'Osservatore Romano are organs not of the Vatican State but of the Holy See, and are listed as such in the Annuario Pontificio, which places them in the section "Institutions linked with the Holy See", ahead of the sections on the Holy See's diplomatic service abroad and the Diplomatic Corps accredited to the Holy See, after which is placed the section on the State of Vatican City.


Vatican City has no sport league or stadium. It has sometimes fielded a national football team drawn from the Swiss Guards (dual Vatican and Swiss citizens), members of the Papal council, and museum guards (Italian citizens). Since the Swiss Guards, who have Vatican City citizenship, are not free in sufficient numbers except for short periods, the national team can play international matches only rarely, on which occasions they may draw an interested press. The Vatican City national football team plays at Stadio Pio XII in Italy. Many of the Pontifical seminaries in Rome compete in the Clericus Cup football tournament each winter and spring. The Cup is organised by the Italian Centro Sportivo Italiano (CSI). Vatican Radio reports on the outcomes of the Cup's matches which are held at the Knights of Columbus football fields at the Oratory of St. Peter on the Gelsomino Hill in Rome. In 2008 the Dutch Fellowship of Fairly Odd Places C.C. challenged the Vatican into raising its own National Team. Subsequently a first cricket match ever between their National side and the Dutch team was played at the Stadio dei Marmi. The Vatican XI won by 9 wickets. All Vatican XI players were of Indian descent.


In accordance with Article 22 of the 1929 Lateran Treaty between the Holy See and Italy, the Italian government, when requested by the Holy See, handles the prosecution and detention of criminal suspects, at the expense of the Vatican. In 1969, the Vatican state abolished capital punishment, which was envisaged in the legislation it adopted in 1929 on the basis of Italian law, but which it never exercised.

Retrieved from ""