50 Fascinating Facts about Vatican City

Vatican City is an independent city-state surrounded by Rome and is the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church. It is home to the Pope, who is the ex officio Head of State. Vatican City is known for its spectacular art and iconic architecture, which includes ancient Roman sculptures such as 'Laocoön and His Sons', St. Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel, with its famous ceiling painted by Michelangelo. Vatican City is the smallest state in the world by both area and population, with an area of 110 acres and a population of just 1,000 (of its inhabitants, only around 30 are female). However, given its extremely prominent position within the Roman Catholic Church, it is a very popular tourist destination and tourism is a major part of Vatican City's economy. The names Vatican City and the Holy See are often used interchangeably, but they are two distinct entities, with the Holy See being an independent sovereign entity that serves as the central point of reference for the Catholic Church everywhere, not specifically within Vatican City.

Vatican City Facts

The Vatican City is officially known as the Vatican City State or State of Vatican City
It is located within the city of Rome
The Vatican City population is approximately 1000 people
Recent statistics have shown that only 32 of these citizens are actually women
100% of the population is Catholic
It is the smallest country in the world by both population and area
The state is completely ruled by the Pope. The only state that is governed by monarchy
It is a recognised independent state that is not part of the United Nations.
The official name of the Vatican City in Italy is Citta Del Vaticano or Stato Della Citta del Vaticano
The Vatican City stands on the Vatican Hill
The gardens account for more than half of the land in the Vatican City
Italian is the official language
The Vatican City flag is yellow and white. The yellow side is supposed to represent the popes spiritual power and the white represents his worldly power
The Apostolic residence is the official residence of the Pope. It was opened on 30th April 1589
The Vatican City is known for its yearly high wine consumption, with the average estimated as 54 litres per year per person
The Vatican City has approximately 5.5 million people visiting a year
There are no hospitals in the Vatican City
As it is so small, it is the only country unable to host embassies
One can only gain citizenship if they work there. When they stop working, they will lose citizenship
It has its own football team – the Vatican City team
The Vatican City and the Philippines are the only two countries that do not have any laws for divorce. A divorce is not permitted, you are only allowed an annulment
The Vatican City employs around 2000 people
The economy is mainly supported by the tourism industry. It relies on the sale of postage stamps, tourist souvenirs and the fees for entry to the museums and the sales of publications
The Vatican City first came into existence on 11th February 1929 by the Latrean Treaty
It is home to the largest Catholic Church in the World
The Vatican City is known to have the highest crime rate in the world, due to it being such a small state with a lot of people. However, they are only minor crimes such as pick-pocketing
The Vatican City has no prisons
The Swiss Guard is the official guard of the Vatican
The Vatican City boasts its own post office, telephone system, flag, national anthem, bank and it issues passports and license plates
The ATM in the Vatican City is the only ATM in the world that can also be read in Latin
The license plates read as SCV
The Vatican City has its own astronomical department and owns the largest telescope which is located in Arizona
In 2000, the Vatican City adopted the Euro and in 2002, it began minting its own Euros
It is home to the main religious and cultural sites such as St. Peter’s Basilica, Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums
The Vatican City contains some of the worlds’ most famous art and paintings
The museums at the Vatican City can be up to 9 miles long and it was estimated that if someone walked through and spent 1 minute looking at each painting, then it would take 4 years to complete the whole museum
St. Peter’s Basilica is the 2nd largest church in the world and took 120 years to complete
The Sistine Chapel is recognised as having the most famous artistic accomplishment ever, which is the ceiling of the chapel, painted by Michelangelo
It took 4 years for Michelangelo to complete the ceiling
The Sistine Chapel is a famous tourist attraction and recently 7000 LED lights were added to illuminate Michelangelo’s ceiling painting
The balcony that the pope stands on to deliver blessings, is known as Loggia of the Benediction
On May 4th 1998, one of the Swiss Guards was murdered at the Vatican City. Rumours suggest that a homosexual affair had occurred between him and one of the other Guards.
The library at the Vatican City was created in 1475 and is the oldest library in the world
The library contains 1.1 million books which is the largest in the world
The first railway station here was opened in 1930 and is mainly used for transporting freight rather than passenger travel
Lots of controversy surround the Vatican, when a woman who dressed as a man was Pope and was only discovered when she gave birth during one of the processions
There was also controversy in 2010 when the bank in the Vatican City was accused of being involved in money laundering
In 2012, one of the pope’s butlers was arrested, after stealing documents that he was using to try and expose the evil and corruption that occurs at the Vatican
The Pope once criticised the Beatles, when John Lennon claimed that they were more popular than God
In the 17th and 18th centuries, for almost 60 years, Popes would not leave the Vatican