Holy See (Vatican City)
Popes in their secular role ruled portions of the Italian peninsula for more than a thousand years until the mid-19th century, when many of the Papal States were seized by the newly united Kingdom of Italy. In 1870, the pope's holdings were further circumscribed when Rome itself was annexed. Disputes between a series of "prisoner" popes and Italy were resolved in 1929 by three Lateran Treaties, which established the independent state of Vatican City and granted Roman Catholicism special status in Italy. In 1984, a concordat between the Holy See and Italy modified certain of the earlier treaty provisions, including the primacy of Roman Catholicism as the Italian state religion. Present concerns of the Holy See include religious freedom, threats against minority Christian communities in Africa and the Middle East, the plight of refugees and migrants, sexual misconduct by clergy, international development, interreligious dialogue and reconciliation, and the application of church doctrine in an era of rapid change and globalization. About 1.3 billion people worldwide profess Catholicism - the world's largest Christian faith.



41.54° N, 12. 27° E
Southern Europe, an enclave of Rome (Italy)


0.44 sq km
0.44 sq km
0 sq km

land boundaries

3.4 km


0 km


temperate; mild, rainy winters (September to May) with hot, dry summers (May to September)


urban; low hill


lowest point
Saint Peter's Square
highest point
Vatican Gardens (Vatican Hill)

land use

  • arable land
  • permanent crops
  • permanent pasture
  • forest
  • other



  • 1,000
  • 236
    global rank


  • none
  • none

ethnic groups

  • Italian
  • Swiss
  • Argentinian
  • and other nationalities from around the world


  • Italian
  • Latin
  • French
  • various other languages


  • Roman Catholic

urban population

100 %

major urban areas

  • Vatican City
    pop. 1,000


country name


  • The Holy See (Vatican City State)
    long form
  • Holy See (Vatican City)
    short form


  • La Santa Sede (Stato della Citta del Vaticano)
    long form
  • Santa Sede (Citta del Vaticano)
    short form

government type

ecclesiastical elective monarchy; self-described as an "absolute monarchy"


Vatican City
41.54 N, 12.27 E


national holidays

  • Election Day of Pope FRANCIS
    13 March

legal system

religious legal system based on canon (religious) law

flag description

two vertical bands of yellow (hoist side) and white with the arms of the Holy See, consisting of the crossed keys of Saint Peter surmounted by the three-tiered papal tiara, centered in the white band; the yellow color represents the pope's spiritual power, the white his worldly power

national colors

  • yellow
  • white

national anthem

"Inno e Marcia Pontificale" (Hymn and Pontifical March); often called The Pontifical Hymn



The Holy See is supported financially by a variety of sources, including investments, real estate income, and donations from Catholic individuals, dioceses, and institutions; these help fund the Roman Curia (Vatican bureaucracy), diplomatic missions, and media outlets. Moreover, an annual collection taken up in dioceses and from direct donations go to a non-budgetary fund, known as Peter's Pence, which is used directly by the pope for charity, disaster relief, and aid to churches in developing nations. The separate Vatican City State budget includes the Vatican museums and post office and is supported financially by the sale of stamps, coins, medals, and tourist mementos as well as fees for admission to museums and publication sales. Revenues increased between 2010 and 2011 because of expanded operating hours and a growing number of visitors. However, the Holy See did not escape the financial difficulties experienced by other European countries; in 2012, it started a spending review to determine where to cut costs to reverse its 2011 budget deficit of $20 million. The Holy See generated a modest surplus in 2012 before recording a $32 million deficit in 2013, driven primarily by the decreasing value of gold. The incomes and living standards of lay workers are comparable to those of counterparts who work in the city of Rome so most public expenditures go to wages and other personnel costs;. In February 2014, Pope FRANCIS created the Secretariat of the Economy to oversee financial and administrative operations of the Holy See, part of a broader campaign to reform the Holy See’s finances.


  • 315,000,000
    revenue (USD)
  • 348,000,000
    expenditures (USD)


broadcast media

the Vatican Television Center (CTV) transmits live broadcasts of the Pope's Sunday and Wednesday audiences, as well as the Pope's public celebrations; CTV also produces documentaries; Vatican Radio is the Holy See's official broadcasting service broadcasting via shortwave, AM and FM frequencies, and via satellite and Internet connections


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This entry doesn't have any available transportation data.


This entry doesn't have any available military data.