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Vatican: The Holy See

World  (tags: Vatcian, art, people, places, travel )

- 1590 days ago -
The Vatican City is found in Europe, at the center of Rome City.

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Past Member (0)
Friday February 14, 2014, 8:12 am
It's certainly beautiful.

Kit B (276)
Friday February 14, 2014, 8:19 am
Map Credit:

The Vatican City is found in Europe, at the center of Rome City. It stretches on a hill found in the western side of the Tiber River. Its area of coverage is about 0.17 square miles and 17'19m above the sea level. It is the world's smallest city state and famous destination for tourists.

--5 Facts You Might Not Know

1) The most attractive churches and museums in the world are found in the Vatican City. Being the famous historical city, it serves as the Catholic Church's governmental capital headed by Pope who is also the Rome's Bishop. Cybele, the Phrygian goddess is also worshiped in this location.

2) The domestic chapel for Pope referred to as the Sistine is located in the city of Rome. This chapel is well known for Michelangelo art decoration; its architecture. Pan tile tiles forms the building's roofing and its diagram is composed of a group of tapestries and the decoration of pictorial fresco. Wonderful designs that have got very attractive colorings are the decorations found in its interior. It was built by Pope Sixtus IV between the years 1473 and 1484 with the first mass inside the chapel being conducted on 9th August 1483.

3) The most historical and artistic palace in the world is the Vatican Palace, found in the City of Rome . It is also referred to as the Papal Palace or Apostolic Palace. It is located to the right side of St Peter's Square and is known for the unmatched architects in the whole of Rome. Palazzo Laterano used to reside here with Nicholas III being the first Pope to reside in the palace.

4) The largest Basilica in the world, St Peter's Basilica, is situated in Rome. It lies on the remains of St. Peter's tomb and was built in the year 1506.Lying before the Basilica is an open space referred to as St. Peter's Square.

5) The greatest, largest sculptures and art museums all over the world are the Vatican Museums. They have got wonderful artifacts and arts belonging to the Roman Catholic Church.


The history of the Vatican as a papal residence dates from the 5th cent., when, after Emperor Constantine I had built the basilica of St. Peter's, Pope Symmachus built a palace nearby. The pope usually resided in the Lateran Palace until the "Babylonian captivity" (14th cent.) in Avignon, France. After the return of the papacy to Rome (1377) the Vatican became the usual residence. The Renaissance popes, principally Sixtus IV, Innocent VIII, Alexander VI, Julius II, Leo X, and Clement VII, were great patrons of the arts, and it was they who began to assemble the great collections and to construct the wonderful galleries. Gregory XIII and Sixtus V spent huge sums on the Vatican and also began the Quirinal, a palace that served as the papal residence from the 17th to the 19th cent., was the Italian royal palace from 1870 to 1946, and is now the home of the president of Italy.

Vatican City (vătˈĭkən) [key] or Holy See, officially Holy See (State of the Vatican City), independent state (2005 est. pop. 900), 108.7 acres (44 hectares), within the city of Rome, Italy, and the residence of the pope, who is its absolute ruler. Vatican City may be said to correspond politically to the former Papal States, but it was created as a result of the Lateran Treaty of 1929 between Pope Pius XI and King Victor Emmanuel III (negotiated by Cardinal Gasparri and Mussolini), which ended the so-called Roman Question.

Geographic and Political Extent

The Vatican City is a roughly triangular tract of land within Rome, on the west bank of the Tiber River and west of the Castel Sant'Angelo. In its southeast corner is the piazza of Saint Peter's Church, surrounded by the splendid colonnade. North of the piazza is a quadrangular area containing administrative buildings and the Belvedere Park. West of Belvedere Park are the pontifical palaces, and beyond the palaces lie the Vatican Gardens, which make up half the area of the little state. The Leonine Wall forms the western and southern boundaries.

In the city of Rome are certain important basilicas, churches, and other buildings to which the Italian government extends the rights of extraterritoriality and tax exemption but not papal sovereignty. The basilicas include San Giovanni in Laterno (St. John Lateran), Santa Maria Maggiore (St. Mary Major), and San Paolo fuori le Mura (St. Paul outside the Walls). The palace of San Callisto at the foot of the Janiculum also shares the immunity of the Vatican, as does the papal summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, in the Alban Hills outside Rome.

Vatican City has its own citizenship, issues its own currency and postage stamps, and has its own flag and a large diplomatic corps. It is open to visitors all year, and the pope receives callers in public and private audiences. It has its own newspaper ( Osservatore Romano ), railroad station, and broadcasting facility (first established by Marconi under Pius XI). The seven Vatican universities, including the Pontifical


The Vatican museums are among the most important in the world; they are the Museo Pio-Clementino, founded in the 18th cent. and containing one of the world's great collections of antiquities; the Chiaramonti Museum, founded in the early 19th cent. and holding a collection of Greek sculptures and Renaissance imitations; the Braccio Nuovo, considered by many to be the most beautiful of all the museums; the Egyptian Museum and the Etruscan Museum, opposite the Braccio Nuovo; and the Pinacoteca Vaticana (opened in 1932), which contains paintings by Giotto, Guercino, Caravaggio, Poussin, and others.

The museums, however, house only part of the Vatican's treasure, for many of the Renaissance and modern paintings are found in the galleries surrounding the various courtyards, such as the Cortile del Belvedere and the Cortile San Damasco. Adjoining the Cortile San Damasco is the building containing the Borgia apartments on the first floor and the Raphael rooms on the second. The works of Raphael and his followers in the building make it one of the most famous artistic monuments in the world. The Vatican Library lies all along the western side of the Giardino della Pigna and Cortile del Belvedere. It is one of the world's richest repositories of ancient and medieval manuscripts in many languages. The principal chapel in the Vatican is the Sistine Chapel, the ceiling of which was painted (1508–12) by Michelangelo.

Read more: Vatican City: The Palaces and the Vatican's Treasures |

The Swiss Guard:
The "Helvetians":

Not many of the visitors to Rome, who pose for a photograph in front of the Swiss soldiers on guard at the gates of Vatican City, are familiar with the history of these troops who take an oath of loyalty to the Pope. To know more we must go back to the period of the Renaissance and discover the motives that in 1506 caused Pope Julius II to invite to Rome the Helvetian soldiers, renowned for their courage, noble sentiments and loyalty. Many centuries earlier the great Latin historian, Tacitus, had said: "The Helvetians are a people of warriors, famous for the valour of their soldiers." This is why the Swiss Cantons, as allies first with one side and then with another, played such an important role in the history of European politics. In fact as allies of Pope Julius II in 1512 they helped to shape Italy's destiny and were granted by the Pope the title of "Defenders of the Church's freedom". In those times, when to be a mercenary soldier was a commonplace occupation, there lived a people of warriors in the very heart of the Alps. The first Swiss Cantons had about 500,000 inhabitants and formed an overpopulated country, where, because of the precarious economic conditions of the times, there was much poverty. There was no choice but to emigrate and one of the most profitable jobs was that of a mercenary soldier abroad.

The Swiss Mercenaries:

There were some 15,000 men available for this type of work which was "organized" and controlled by the small Confederation of Cantons. The Confederation authorized the enlistment of the men and in return received corn, salt, or other commercial goods. The men themselves regarded this warring as a temporary period of summer emigration. They took part in brief but glorious wars and then returned home with the "pay" and the booty, to spend the winter. They were the best troops of those times. Without cavalry and with little artillery, they had invented a tactic of movement that was superior to all others. Therefore they were in great demand both by France and by Spain. They were similar to a semimobile rampart, standing tall and impenetrable, and it is impossible to understand the Italian Wars without taking these mercenaries into account. Already in the 13th and 14th centuries, after the Swiss Cantons had become independent, many of their men were fighting in Germany and Italy and as the Cantons were unable to prevent this type of emigration, they sought at least to organize it.

Read more about The Swiss Guard history:


Kit B (276)
Friday February 14, 2014, 8:22 am

There is quite a lot about the history and art of the Vatican, it's rather difficult to keep this Short, but I gave it a try. We skipped a few of the "G" islands/countries because of a lack of tourist information.

Brad H (21)
Friday February 14, 2014, 8:47 am

Nicole W (646)
Friday February 14, 2014, 10:27 am
nice, ty dear Kit

Barbara K (60)
Friday February 14, 2014, 12:20 pm
Thank you, my friend, this is really a beautiful place. Even the size is awesome.

SuSanne P (193)
Friday February 14, 2014, 1:52 pm
Thank you Kit~ as this is fascinating as I know absolutely nothing about this whatsoever!

SuSanne P (193)
Friday February 14, 2014, 2:06 pm
Oh my-shame on me! Due to becoming so involved with your previous brilliant and appreciated submissions today I didn't realize there was a video. I had missed it not realizing this was your Travel piece and became consumed reading the "5 Facts" first. My Bad! Due to my upbringing and experiences I will share I feel I am allergic to Churches (no matter how hard I have tried to feel comfortable) for personal reasons many of you feel. This being said I appreciate the History, Architecture, and Art beyond words!

Süheyla C (234)
Friday February 14, 2014, 4:46 pm

JL A (281)
Friday February 14, 2014, 6:38 pm
It is indeed beyond words.

Jaime Alves (52)
Saturday February 15, 2014, 6:38 am

. (0)
Saturday February 15, 2014, 8:45 am
Noted. Once was enough. I much prefer Florence and northern Italy.

Theodore Shayne (56)
Saturday February 15, 2014, 11:51 am

Past Member (0)
Saturday February 15, 2014, 2:58 pm
Small but both interesting+quite beautiful! But i love the Amalfi Coast+Tuscany. Thx Kit

Michela M (3964)
Sunday February 16, 2014, 4:50 pm
If you come to Rome, don't miss to visit the Vatican Museums. I've seen a lot of Museums around the world, but nothing can be compared to this. I've been there at least 15 times.
The only problem for me NOW is that it takes at least an entire day to visit it.
This is why I prefer to take my guests to the Borghese Museum, where you have the opportunity to see a LOT of masterpieces just in 2 or 3 hours......... (because of old age & being lazy)....
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