Vatican

Vatican City is located in the heart of Rome, Italy and is the smallest independent state in the world. The Vatican is the system that governs the Catholic Church, with the Pope as its leading authority.

Vatican City has its own army, flag, passport, stamps, post office, pharmacy, telecommunications provider, bank, and even the right to produce its own currency. Though completely surrounded by Italy, Vatican City’s official language is Latin, though it isn’t regularly spoken. It has a population of about 800 people; over half of whom have Vatican citizenship, while the others have permission to live there without the benefit of citizenship.

St. Peter’s Basilica, which sits atop St. Peter’s tomb, is one of the largest Christian churches in the world and the cornerstone of Vatican City. Catholics from all over the world make pilgrimages to visit Vatican City throughout the year. Tourism is the principal economic source for the state, as it also boasts world-renowned architecture and an priceless art collection.