Learn about the history of The Vatican in Rome with iMinds Travel's insightful fast knowledge series. Although a tiny city- state, the Vatican City boasts many cultural and religious gems in its small boundaries. It’s famous for being the smallest country in the world, at less than 50 hectares, or 120 acres. And its permanent population is less than 1000 people. But it is home to the Sistine Chapel, St Peter’s Basilica, ten museums and many lush gardens! And as the world centre of the Roman Catholic Church, the Vatican is a place of enormous interest to pilgrims and art lovers the world over.
The Vatican City sits comfortably inside the city of Rome and exists solely as a Catholic hub. Pope Symmachus was the first to establish a fixed papal residence in the Vatican in about 500. And since 1377 it has been the pope’s official residence. Governed by different laws, the Vatican has always been set apart from the rest of Italy. And it was granted its status as an independent state in 1929, after 68 years of leaders trying unsuccessfully to incorporate it into the Kingdom of Italy. Benito Mussolini gave Pope Pius XI authority over the Vatican City and today the pope is still in charge. The Vatican City is considered a theocracy. This means that God is recognised as the supreme ruler.
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