- Art Gallery -



Vatican City, See : Flags, Maps

Holy See (Vatican City) (Europe)

Introduction ::Holy See (Vatican City)


Popes in their secular role ruled portions of the Italian peninsula for more than a thousand years until the mid 19th century, when many of the Papal States were seized by the newly united Kingdom of Italy. In 1870, the pope's holdings were further circumscribed when Rome itself was annexed. Disputes between a series of "prisoner" popes and Italy were resolved in 1929 by three Lateran Treaties, which established the independent state of Vatican City and granted Roman Catholicism special status in Italy. In 1984, a concordat between the Holy See and Italy modified certain of the earlier treaty provisions, including the primacy of Roman Catholicism as the Italian state religion. Present concerns of the Holy See include religious freedom, international development, the environment, the Middle East, China, the decline of religion in Europe, terrorism, interreligious dialogue and reconciliation, and the application of church doctrine in an era of rapid change and globalization. About one billion people worldwide profess the Catholic faith.

Geography ::Holy See (Vatican City)

View Larger Map


Southern Europe, an enclave of Rome (Italy)

Geographic coordinates:
41 54 N, 12 27 E

Map references:



total: 0.44 sq km country comparison to the world: 250 land: 0.44 sq km

water: 0 sq km

Area - comparative:

about 0.7 times the size of The National Mall in Washington, DC

Land boundaries:

total: 3.2 km

border countries: Italy 3.2 km


0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims:

none (landlocked)


temperate; mild, rainy winters (September to May) with hot, dry summers (May to September)

Vatican city


urban; low hill

Elevation extremes:

lowest point: unnamed location 19 m

highest point: unnamed elevation 75 m

Natural resources:


Land use:

arable land: 0%

permanent crops: 0%

other: 100% (urban area) (2005)

Irrigated land:

0 sq km

Natural hazards:

 The Sistine Chapel, Vatican

Environment - current issues:

Environment - international agreements:

party to: Ozone Layer Protection

signed, but not ratified: Air Pollution, Environmental Modification

Geography - note:

landlocked; enclave in Rome, Italy; world's smallest state; beyond the territorial boundary of Vatican City, the Lateran Treaty of 1929 grants the Holy See extraterritorial authority over 23 sites in Rome and five outside of Rome, including the Pontifical Palace at Castel Gandolfo (the Pope's summer residence)

People ::Holy See (Vatican City)


829 (July 2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 236

Population growth rate:

0.004% (2010 est.) country comparison to the world: 195

Vatican, Rome, basilique Saint-Pierre, DSC_0239


urban population: 100% of total population (2008)

rate of urbanization: 0.1% annual rate of change (2005-10 est.)

HIV/AIDS - adult prevalence rate:

HIV/AIDS - people living with HIV/AIDS:

HIV/AIDS - deaths:


noun: none

adjective: none

Ethnic groups:

Italians, Swiss, other


Roman Catholic


Italian, Latin, French, various other languages


definition: NA

total population: 100%

male: 100%

female: 100%

Government ::Holy See (Vatican City)

Country name:

conventional long form: The Holy See (State of the Vatican City)

conventional short form: Holy See (Vatican City)

local long form: Santa Sede (Stato della Citta del Vaticano)

local short form: Santa Sede (Citta del Vaticano)

Government type:



name: Vatican City

geographic coordinates: 41 54 N, 12 27 E

time difference: UTC+1 (6 hours ahead of Washington, DC during Standard Time)

daylight saving time: +1hr, begins last Sunday in March; ends last Sunday in October

Administrative divisions:



11 February 1929 (from Italy); note - the three treaties signed with Italy on 11 February 1929 acknowledged, among other things, the full sovereignty of the Vatican and established its territorial extent; however, the origin of the Papal States, which over the years have varied considerably in extent, may be traced back to the 8th century

National holiday:

Election Day of Pope BENEDICT XVI, 19 April (2005)


Fundamental Law promulgated by Pope JOHN PAUL II on 26 November 2000, effective 22 February 2001 (replaced the first Fundamental Law of 1929)

Legal system:

based on Code of Canon Law and revisions to it; has not accepted compulsory ICJ jurisdiction


limited to cardinals less than 80 years old

Executive branch:

chief of state: Pope BENEDICT XVI (since 19 April 2005)

head of government: Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio BERTONE (since 15 September 2006)

cabinet: Pontifical Commission for the State of Vatican City appointed by the pope (For more information visit the World Leaders website ) elections: pope elected for life by the College of Cardinals; election last held on 19 April 2005 (next to be held after the death of the current pope); secretary of state appointed by the pope

election results: Joseph RATZINGER elected Pope BENEDICT XVI

Legislative branch:

unicameral Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State

Judicial branch:

there are three tribunals responsible for civil and criminal matters within Vatican City; three other tribunals rule on issues pertaining to the Holy See

note: judicial duties were established by the Motu Proprio, papal directive, of Pope PIUS XII on 1 May 1946

Political parties and leaders:


Political pressure groups and leaders:

none (exclusive of influence exercised by church officers)

International organization participation:

IAEA, Interpol, IOM (observer), ITSO, ITU, ITUC, OAS (observer),
OPCW, OSCE, Schengen Convention (de facto member), UN (observer),
UNCTAD, UNHCR, Union Latina (observer), UNWTO (observer), UPU, WIPO,
WTO (observer)

Diplomatic representation in the US:

chief of mission: Apostolic Nuncio Archbishop Pietro SAMBI

chancery: 3339 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 333-7121
FAX: [1] (202) 337-4036

Diplomatic representation from the US:

chief of mission: Ambassador Miguel Humberto DIAZ

embassy: Villa Domiziana, Via delle Terme Deciane 26, 00153 Rome

mailing address: PSC 833, Box 66, APO AE 09624

telephone: [39] (06) 4674-3428
FAX: [39] (06) 575-3411

Flag description:

two vertical bands of yellow (hoist side) and white with the arms of the Holy See, consisting of the crossed keys of Saint Peter surmounted by the three-tiered papal tiara, centered in the white band; the yellow color represents the pope's spiritual power, the white his worldly power

National anthem:

name: "Inno e Marcia Pontificale" (Hymn and Pontifical March)

lyrics/music: Raffaello LAVAGNA/Charles-Francois GOUNOD

note: adopted 1950; although used as such, "Inno e Marcia Pontificale" is not officially a national anthem but rather a hymn meant to appeal to Roman Catholics throughout the world

Economy ::Holy See (Vatican City)

Economy - overview:

The Holy See is supported financially by a variety of sources, including investments, real estate income, and donations from Catholic individuals, dioceses, and institutions; these help fund the Roman Curia (Vatican bureaucracy), diplomatic missions, and media outlets. The separate 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.

GDP (purchasing power parity):

Labor force:

Labor force - by occupation:

note: essentially services with a small amount of industry; nearly all dignitaries, priests, nuns, guards, and the approximately 3,000 lay workers live outside the Vatican

Population below poverty line:


printing; production of coins, medals, postage stamps; mosaics and staff uniforms; worldwide banking and financial activities

Electricity - production:

NA kWh

Electricity - consumption:

NA kWh

Electricity - imports:

NA kWh; note - electricity supplied by Italy; a small portion of electricity is self-produced from solar panels

Exchange rates:

euros (EUR) per US dollar - 0.7715 (2010), 0.7179 (2009), 0.6827 (2008), 0.7345 (2007), 0.7964 (2006)

Communications ::Holy See (Vatican City)

Telephones - main lines in use:

5,120 (2005) country comparison to the world: 211

Telephone system:

general assessment: automatic digital exchange

domestic: connected via fiber optic cable to Telecom Italia network

international: country code - 39; uses Italian system

Broadcast media:

the Vatican Television Center (CTV) transmits live broadcasts of the Pope's Sunday and Wednesday audiences, as well as the Pope's public celebrations; CTV also produces documentaries; Vatican Radio is the Holy See's official broadcasting service broadcasting via shortwave, AM and FM frequencies, and via satellite and Internet connections (2008)

Internet country code:


Internet hosts:

68 (2010) country comparison to the world: 208

Military ::Holy See (Vatican City)

Military branches:

Pontifical Swiss Guard Corps (Corpo della Guardia Svizzera
Pontificia) (2010)

Military - note:

defense is the responsibility of Italy; ceremonial and limited security duties performed by Pontifical Swiss Guard

Transnational Issues ::Holy See (Vatican City)

Disputes - international:



Hellenica World