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Regional Population: 921
Local Currency: EUR
The Holy See or Vatican City, is a city state surrounded by Rome and the home to the supreme body of government of the Catholic Church. The smallest state in the world (0.17 square miles), there are approximately 546 citizens, including high-ranking dignitaries, priests, nuns, guards and of course, the Pope. Papal rule over portions of Italy continued from the 8th century until the middle of the 19th century, when Victor Emmanuel’s army captured the Papal States and eventually Rome, declaring it the new capital of Italy. So-called “prisoner” popes disputed these claims until the 1929 Lateran Treaties between the Italian government and the Holy See established the independent state of Vatican City, defined the relationship between the government and the church within Italy and provided compensation to the Holy See for losses in 1870.
One of the most sacred places in Christianity, Vatican City has a collection of artistic and architectural treasures. St. Peter’s Basilica, erected over the tomb of St. Peter the Apostle, lies at its center, the largest religious building in the world. The most famous chapel in the world, the Sistine Chapel, is in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the Pope. Michelangelo painted the 12,000 square foot ceiling, flat on his back, from 1508 to 1512.
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Everyone has heard of the catacombs, but these early Christian tombs are only the beginning of Rome’s subterranean world.
From the toppled columns of the Forum to Vatican City to the cobblestone streets of Trastevere, Rome has something to appeal to everyone.