Anyone that wants to explore the core of Christianity needs to visit Vatican City. It boasts a beautiful history of the religion along with Baroque art and other creations of the Renaissance times that will wow you. Despite being the smallest country in the world, there are various beautiful details and facts about Vatican City that make it such as impressive destination.
After all, a visit to this holy ground is one of the top things to do while in Rome. Here are some of the fascinating Vatican City facts to know regardless if you are visiting.
Historical Facts About Vatican City
The history of Vatican City is linked with religion, art, and much more. Here are some interesting facts about its history that will help you understand this better:
It’s The Smallest Country On Earth
The Vatican City isn’t exactly a city, it is technically a city-state. It is considered the world’s smallest country and it is also one of the few independent regions that are enclaved within another country – Italy. In fact, this connection to the Vatican City is exactly one of the things Rome is famous for. The city-state only spans 49 hectares but there is still a lot to do and see here.
Between the 19th And 20th Century, Popes Refused To Leave
There was a time when the Popes did not recognize the Kingdom of Italy’s authority. Because of this, they refused to leave the country, and it was not in Italy’s control anymore. Even when Italy’s troops came to St. Peter’s Square, the popes refused to come to the balcony or provide blessings.
The Country Hasn’t Even Been Around For A Century
The country was formed in the 20th century after signing the Lateran Pacts. It is not an ancient country as some people might assume due to its significance. However, it is still one of the most important religious places you will see.
Benito Mussolini Signed The Treaty To Bring The Vatican City
Mussolini was the one that signed the Lateran Pacts on behalf of the King. It also received millions of dollars, which allowed it to grow as a proper country. This is why you will see some grand architecture and development that adds to the whole atmosphere.
Popes Used To Escape Through Secret Passageways
Passages were constructed to link some parts of the country with others, and popes have used them as escape routes in the past. During the 16th Century, Pope Clement VII used one of these passageways to save his life. The ones that did not escape were killed by the Romans, along with nuns and priests.
Cultural Facts about Vatican City
While religion is what Vatican City is most known for, it is not the only thing that makes up the country. Here are some other cultural facts about Vatican City.
No One Can Become A Citizen By Birth
Many people don’t know this, but you can only become a citizen of Vatican City if you are employed in the country. You will have to find a job there for citizenship. However, if you switch jobs and move somewhere else, then you also lose your citizenship status.
Women Only Account For Around 5% Of The Population
You will not find a lot of women in Vatican City because they only make up around 5% of the population, based on statistics from 2011. However, since then, the female population has increased a little as more people are employed. But, the ratio of men to women is still very disproportionate.
Most Of The Food Consists Of Italian
As you roam the country, you will mostly find Italian food. This is why you can load up on pastas, pizzas, and much more. There are a lot of different flavors for you to try, and enjoy great Italian food while you are there.
The Crime Rate Is High
Yes, the place may be small, but the crime rate is comparatively high because of petty crimes. This might sound misleading without context. In essence, Vatican City is overall a tourist hotspot within another tourism hub – Rome.
These are prime areas for crimes like pickpocketing. The place can get crowded, so make sure you look after your belongings, especially in St. Peter’s Square. This applies to Rome as well; unsuspecting tourists are key targets for petty crime.
Interesting Facts About Vatican City For Kids
Kids should be familiar with one of the most important places for Christianity and religion. Here are some interesting Vatican City facts you can impart to kids to enhance their knowledge.
It Has A Soccer Team
There is a soccer team known as the FC Guardia, and it includes the Swiss Guards. There is also a Championship that takes place, and it includes 8 teams of workers from the different state departments in the country. After all, the people that spend the most time here need some form of fun and entertainment.
Swiss Guards Make Up The Armed Forces
Only Catholics from Swiss can become a member of the military unit in Vatican City. You also need to be trained by the Swiss Armed Forces; however, just the basic level of training is required. All of this will make you eligible to be part of the armed forces in the country. They mainly serve as bodyguards of the Pope and other important figures.
Vatican Pharmacy Is The Busiest Worldwide
Not a lot of people live in the country, but the pharmacy is still the busiest. A monk found this pharmacy in the 19th century, and you will find everything from painkillers to health products. However, because of religious reasons, it doesn’t stock a few items, such as Viagra or contraceptives.
A positive feature of the pharmacy is that it is duty-free. Because of this, it has over two-thousand visitors daily from surrounding areas. Products here are typically cheaper than in Italy.
It Mints Its Unique Euros
The country mints its unique Euro coins. These coins have been in use since the end of the 20th century. You will notice that the coins are filled with the images of the Pope. Some of them are also highly prized, and people collect them as they tend to increase in value.
Fun Vatican City Facts For Travelers
If you ever plan on visiting the Vatican, make sure that you understand what you will expect to find there. Here are some of the useful facts about Vatican City.
The Vatican Palaces Are Huge
One of the things you will notice about these palaces is that they are huge, with multiple buildings, over a thousand rooms, and more. As you step inside, you will find chapels, meeting rooms, offices, and the place where the Pope resides. There is also a lot of artwork that will wow you, so make sure you visit the Vatican Palaces.
There Are Over A Hundred Tombs In St. Peter’s Basilica
91 tombs out of the 100 are of Popes from the past, and the most recent tomb includes that of John Paul II. However, there are also a few tombs that belong to people who are not Popes. You can learn more about these when you visit St. Peter’s Basilica.
This is not just one of the main highlights in Vatican City but also considered a key landmark in Rome.
It Has The Shortest National Railway In The World
There is a railway in the country, but it is only three hundred meters. While it did start a service for passengers, you will find that it is mostly used for transporting goods. The railway was inaugurated and operational in 1934.
Most Citizens Live Abroad
The majority of the citizens don’t live in the country and they just work there. There is an estimated total of around 600 people. However, it is said that the population will most likely increase when there is a new Pope. We will have to wait and see what happens.
Common Facts About Vatican City
Here are some additional facts about the Vatican City that makes for good trivia.
The Country Has A Telescope In The US
The Vatican Observatory is one of the oldest in the world but there is a lot of light pollution, which doesn’t provide astronomers with a clear view. In order to have a clear view of the stars, the Vatican decided to buy a highly efficient telescope located on Mount Graham in the State of Arizona, United States.
The Entire Nation Is A UNESCO Site
UNESCO has listed the entire country as a World Heritage Site because of its religious significance. In addition, it is filled with libraries, art, and architecture that holds rich historic value. It is one of the most beautiful sites you will lay your eyes on, and always a memorable experience if there is some special event going on.
People Drink More Wine Than Anyone Else
The population is small, and most of them are avid wine drinkers, as with Italians. On the other hand, wine is also utilized for religious purposes within the country.
You Might Catch A Glimpse Of The Pope On Wednesday Mornings
If you want to see the pope then there is a high chance that you can do it on Wednesday. The pope visits St. Peters Square on Wednesdays. After that, he talks to the public and then blesses everyone present. You will need a free ticket to see all this and the good thing is that you can get them online.
Other Interesting Facts About Vatican City
Here are some other Vatican City interesting facts that we bet you didn’t know before.
The Economy Is Unique
Just like many other things in the country, even the economy is unique. Postage stamps actually contribute a large chunk to it. The country generates a lot of revenue by making things such as postage stamps and souvenirs for tourists. After visiting the place, you can purchase some of these items to take home. Tourism, in general, is an important sector.
You Will Find An ATM With Latin Instructions
You will find an ATM in the country with instructions given in Latin. The Vatican Bank owns this ATM, and it dispenses Euros.
They Are Not A Fan Of The Beatles
You heard it right; the Vatican City stopped liking the Beatles after John Lennon publicly said that they were more popular than Jesus. The country has forgiven the band for this statement, but it doesn’t mean that they like them.
There Is No Prison
Finally, Vatican City is the only country worldwide that doesn’t include a prison in its walls. However, you will find a few cells where people are detained before they go on trial. On the other hand, people who are sentenced have to go to Italian prisons to serve their time.
However, it is up to the Vatican government to cover the cost of imprisonment for the people that go from here to Italian prisons. It is the only place that has such a system for people.
Discovering More Fun Facts About Vatican City
Vatican City is one of the most popular destinations for pilgrims and anyone visiting Rome. While the country might be small, it is of such high importance that everyone wants to catch a glimpse of this religious hub.
If possible, grab your tickets online first when visiting to cut down on queue time. This is also one place where a guided tour is worthwhile if you really want to dive deep into the history, significance, and facts about Vatican City.
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