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"If you hack the Vatican's servers, are you tampering in God's domain?"
Aaron Allston

Vatican City, officially known as Vatican City State (Italian: Stato della Città del Vaticano, Latin: Status Civitatis Vaticanae), is the world's smallest country, a sovereign Southern European city-state located entirely within Italy's capital city, Rome. Created by the Lateran Treaties of 1929, it had a previous, and far more powerful incarnation - The Papal States. It is perhaps the only currently existing Real Life example of The Theocracy as well as one of the most famous examples of a Holy City. It is also unique in the modern world in having Latin as its official languagenote , though its newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, is published primarily in Italian.

The country is ruled by The Pope, who's also the ruler of the Holy See, that is, the government of the Roman Catholic Church whose influence extends far outside the city's walls. This makes the pope one of the Roman Catholic religious leaders that also leads a country, the other being the Bishop of Urgell of Andorra. While Castel Gandolfo (the former summer residence of the pope and now a museum) and other places belong to the church, they are not as is often assumed exclaves of the Vatican in any diplomatic sense. However, Italy does not usually press the matter, so the point is moot for all but geography nerds.

The Holy See (not the Vatican as a state which is member of jack squat) is not a member of the United Nations, but has Permanent Observer status. Remarkably, this situation is the result of the Church's sense of honor: since the UN holds freedom and democracy as one of its highest values, and the Vatican is neither free nor democratic (as it is technically an absolute monarchy and all its inhabitants are either clergy, administrators, or Swiss Guards oath-bound to obey the Pope), it declines full membership out of honesty. This isn't to say that the Church is opposed to freedom or democracy — quite the opposite — but that the Vatican works best as it is, and nobody complains (it is the only state in the world where everyone who lives there has made an active and completely voluntary choice to do so).

For very obvious reasons, no one can be a natural born citizen of Vatican City. There are a handful of families — the family of disappeared teen Emanuela Orlandi, subject of a 2022 Netflix documentary, for example — who are multi-generational Vatican citizens, living in the City State for over 100 years and serving multiple Popes, who fall under the Vatican policy of jus officii, where citizenship is granted only to those (and their spouse/children) who have an official position and therefore a reason to be there. In the off chance of, say, a pregnant tourist going into labor and delivering without being able to be transported to a Roman hospital, a child born in that position would be considered to be born in Italy. As Italy itself does not grant primary citizenship based on birthplace (jus soli), the child's citizenship would be governed by the relevant laws of his/her parent's home country. The legal fiction of a Vatican child being a born Italian was established as an Obvious Rule Patch, in case such a child were born to stateless parents, in order to give the child a citizenship of last resort; Italy doesn't grant primary citizenship based on birthplace, but a child can claim Italian citizenship if he/she is not otherwise entitled to any other.

Vatican City also does not participate in The European Union, its income primarily consisting of contributions from believers around the world, as well as its tourist sector, although it uses the Euro as currency and has a deal with the EU to mint - highly sought after - "Vatican Euros".note 

The smallest city/state devotes much of its money back outside, often leaving it slightly in the red. While it gained $355.5 million in revenue in 2008, it spent $356.8 million. Vatican City does house a vast and priceless collection of art collected over its multi-millennial existence, but chooses to keep the treasures for all to see; else, a private collector could buy and shut it away forever.

Please note that you must dress appropriately to enter.note 

Nowadays, the city-state mainly serves as the administrative capital of Catholicism and a major religious tourist destination. In an example of the perfidy of statistics, it has the world's highest per-capita crime rate, of 1.5 crimes per capita.note 

A common misnomer: while Vatican City is surrounded by Rome, the religion's official name is simply the "Catholic Church". The term "Roman" (or "Latin") just defines one of the rites, or liturgical practices, of a bulk of their followers. There are numerous Eastern Catholic churches (e.g. the Ukrainian Catholic Church, the Maronite Catholic Church, the Chaldean Catholic Church, the Armenian Catholic Church, the Assyrian Catholic Church...), which use various non-Latin rites: namely, the Byzantine Rite (broadly similar to the Eastern Orthodox liturgy), Alexandrian Rite (broadly similar to the Oriental Orthodox), the Antiochan/West Syrian Rite, and the East Syrian Rite. There are also variant Latin/Western rites, including the Ambrosian Rite (still used in Milan), the Mozarabic Rite (formerly used by the Catholics of Muslim Spain), the Sarum Rite (formerly used in England), and the Anglican Use (used by congregations which were once Anglo-Catholic—i.e. Catholicizing members of the Anglican Communion—who decided to have done with it already and join the Catholic Church, but retained the Anglican liturgy). Despite following different rites, believers of these churches recognize the Pope as their leader (that's what "Catholic" means in Latin: universal).

Note that Vatican City is, officially, not considered a continuation of the Papal States. It was created in the Lateran Treaty of 1929 between the Papacy and Benito Mussolini, which made it a point to emphasize that the Papal States had ceased to exist, and "Vatican City" was a new creation.

St. Peter's Basilica is the focal point of Vatican City. Built in the early 16th century to replace the previous St. Peter's, it is the largest church on Earth. St. Peter's, however, is not the Cathedral for the Diocese of Rome as it does not house the Bishop's throne. That honor instead belongs to the Archbasilica of Saint John Lateran , which is located about 4km northwest of the Vatican.

Vatican City is the only nation in the world that can lock its own gates at night. It has its own phone company, radio, T.V. stations, money, and stamps. It even has its own army, the historic Swiss Guard.

Notable art at the Vatican:

The Vatican in fiction:

Tends to overlap with the fictional section of the Pope page, for obvious reasons.

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Blue Exorcist has the Knight of the True Cross's headquarters under Vatican City. Or Rome, to be accurate...
  • Cesare - Il Creatore che ha distrutto and its musical adaptation focus on Cesare Borgia in school in Pisa in the year before his father's election, but both show the cardinals in the Vatican in major subplots, and both accurately depict the Sistine Chapel pre-Michelangelo, though in the musical, Giuliano della Rovere sees the murals he would someday commission in a vision during his Anti- Villain Song. Near the end of the manga, after Pope Alexander VI has just been elected, he discusses the sorts of art he wants to commission to decorate his rooms in the Vatican.
  • Hellsing: Features an attack on the Vatican by a New Age cult, and later includes a cameo of Pope John Paul II (yes, they actually refers to him directly as Papa Joannes Paulus Secundus, lawsuits be damned) authorizing a crusade to reconquer England.
  • In The Legend of Koizumi, Koizumi meets Pope Benedict XVI in the Vatican for a truly epic mahjong match.

    Comic Books 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Featured in 2012 as part of the mandatory Monumental Damage, starting with cracks in Michelangelo's The Creation of Adam fresco in the Sistine Chapel (specifically, between God's and Adam's hands) and ending with the dome of St. Peter's Basilica falling down and running over the crowd like a bowling ball.
  • The Agony and the Ecstasy, which tells the story of the creation of the Sistine Chapel's ceiling fresco paintings and the feud between Michelangelo Buonarroti and his patron, Pope Julius II.
  • In Don Camillo: Monsignor, Don Camillo becomes a Monsignore (bishop) and is briefly seen at the Vatican at the beginning.
  • In the climax of EuroTrip, Scotty and his friends enter the Vatican to try to meet Scotty's prospective love interest Mieke, who is on a tour there. Leads to hilarity like Scotty accidentally ringing a bell that signals the Pope had died.
  • The central story The Godfather: Part III gravitates around a struggle between The Mafia and Vatican bankers, with the Pope (a reformist man) caught in the middle. Many scenes take place in the city.
  • Mission: Impossible III: Ethan decides to infiltrate the Vatican in order to abduct an arms dealer whose been avoiding the IMF for years after an email indicating he's going to be at an event there is recovered by Benji. Luther points out that the security is going to make this plan a bigger nightmare than stealing from Langley, but they manage to pull it off anyway.
  • In Sin, Michelangelo Buonarroti is seen working (or rather taking a break from working) on the Sistine Chapel's ceiling frescos. Then he dreams of Pope Julius II's death, which happens for real when he wakes up and rushes to the Pope's apartments.
  • In Van Helsing there is a secret society made up of members of many religions and nations who fight to protect mankind from evil; its base of operations is underground, just beneath St. Peter's Basilica.

  • Angels & Demons (the film as well), where ritual murders surrounding the election of a new pope are central to the story. The murders actually take place in Rome, but the climax takes place in the Vatican City.
  • In A Certain Magical Index, the Vatican occasionally appears, as the Roman Catholic Church and the Pope are major characters. Eventually, Fiamma of the Right decides the city and the Pope have outlived their usefulness to his plans and tries to wipe it off the map. The Pope manages to contain the blast so that there is minimal damage to the city (though St. Peter's Basilica gets destroyed) at the cost of his body being left in critical condition, and Fiamma leaves.
  • Some early events of The Genesis Code take place in the offices of the Vatican's bureaucracy.
  • Trinity Blood has the Vatican becoming the dominant power in Western Europe about a thousand years after an apocalyptic war with vampires.
  • The Vatican Secret Archives religious historical thriller series by Gary McAvoy, which features as its primary character the Jesuit priest Father Michael Dominic. His work in the eponymous Vatican Secret Archives provides the central mystery of each novel.

    Live-Action Television 
  • Borgia and The Borgias, as it covers the infamous history of Pope Alexander VI and his family.
  • Penn & Teller: Bullshit! had an episode dedicated to calling out the Vatican.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise establishes that the Vatican, as well as the Pope and the Catholic Church by extension, are still around in the 22nd century, as Phlox's study of Earth religions includes attending a mass service at St. Peter's Square.

    Video Games 
  • Assassin's Creed:
    • The Vatican is the site of the final memory in Assassin's Creed II, with the bulk of it taking place on the Passetto di Borgo and in the Sistine Chapel. In a nod to history, the Chapel's ceiling lacks its famous fresco painting, as the level takes place in the year 1499, before the fresco was painted.
    • The sequel, Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood, also features the Vatican prominently (what with the game being mostly set in Rome and all), and has you breaking in several times.
  • Serious Sam 4 has a part set in Vatican City, where Sam finds a book leading to the location of the Holy Grail.

    Web Comics 
  • The Vatican's mentioned as a minor background character in Hetalia: Axis Powers, primarily as an aging (and apparently grumpy) priest who's at odds with both Italies. And who has a grudge with England (see Henry VIII).
  • The Vatican as represented in Scandinavia and the World is portrayed as a kindly old man in popish garb (with his flag as his robe) who gets freaked out by the Scandinavians' Christmas traditions.

    Western Animation 

The Vatican Flag
Yellow and white are loosely based on the coat of arms, which is featured on the white half; the arms consist of a papal tiara above a pair of keys, colored silver and gold, representing the Pope's God-given authority over temporal and spiritual matters, respectively.

The Vatican national anthem

O felix Roma – o Roma nobilis:
Sedes es Petri, qui Romae effudit sanguinem,
Petri cui claves datae sunt regni caelorum.
Pontifex, Tu successor es Petri;
Pontifex, Tu magister es tuos confirmans fratres;
Pontifex, Tu qui Servus servorum Dei,
hominumque piscator, pastor es gregis,
ligans caelum et terram.
Pontifex, Tu Christi es Vicarius super terram,
rupes inter fluctus, Tu es pharus in tenebris;
Tu pacis es vindex, Tu es unitatis custos,
vigil libertatis defensor; in Te potestas.

Tu Pontifex, firma es petra, et super petram
hanc aedificata est Ecclesia Dei.

Pontifex, Tu Christi es Vicarius super terram,
rupes inter fluctus, Tu es pharus in tenebris;
Tu pacis es vindex, Tu es unitatis custos,
vigil libertatis defensor; in Te potestas.

O felix Roma – O Roma nobilis.
O felix Roma – O Roma nobilis.

O happy Rome - O noble Rome
O happy Rome - happy and noble Rome
You are the seat of Peter, who shed his blood in Rome,
Peter, to whom the keys of the kingdom of heaven were given.
Pontiff, You are the successor of Peter;
Pontiff, You are the teacher, you confirm your brethren;
Pontiff, You who are the Servant of the servants of God,
and fisher of men, are the shepherd of the flock,
linking heaven and earth.
Pontiff, You are the vicar of Christ on earth,
a rock amidst the waves, You are a beacon in the darkness;
You are the defender of peace, You are the guardian of unity,
watchful defender of liberty; in You is the authority.

Pontiff, you are the unshakable rock, and on this rock
was built the Church of God.

Pontiff, You are the vicar of Christ on earth,
a rock amidst the waves, You are a beacon in the darkness;
You are the defender of peace, You are the guardian of unity,
watchful defender of liberty; in You is the authority.

O happy Rome - O noble Rome.

  • Unitary Christian absolute monarchy (under an ecclesiastical and elective theocracy)
    • Sovereign entity: Holy See
    • Sovereign (Pope): Francis
    • Secretary of State: Pietro Parolin
    • President of the Governorate: Fernando Vérgez Alzaga

  • Capital and largest city: Vatican City
  • Population: 825
  • Area: 0.49 km
(0.19 sq mi) (194th; smallest)
  • Currency: Euro (€) (EUR)
  • ISO-3166-1 Code: VA
  • Country calling code: 39
    • The Vatican has been assigned the calling code 379, but does not use it, choosing instead to integrate its phone system with that of Italy.
  • Highest point: Vatican Hill (71 m/233 ft) (196th)
  • Lowest point: Saint Peter's Square (33 m/108 ft) (44th)

Alternative Title(s): Vatican