Europe

The Vatican City State, an independent country

The Vatican City State, its official name, is an independent sovereign country. But not only that, we are talking about the smallest country in the worldwith just 0.44 km² of extension.

However, if you are thinking of visiting it, do not think that in just a few hours you will go through it. Its dimensions may be very accessible, but it has so much art treasured inside that one could spend days in this tiny country and always have something to admire.

The size of the Vatican City State

To get an idea of ​​the reduced dimensions of the Vatican, it is enough to look at its official name, which already tells us that it is a city-state, like others scattered around the world, such as Singapore. But in this case it is much smaller, since its size, as we anticipated, does not even reach half a square kilometer of surface.

It is one of the six microstates of Europe, but none of the others, such as Monaco or Lichtenstein, are so small in size. In fact, to get an idea of ​​its smallness, let’s think of the great symbol of the Vatican: the famous Saint Peter’s Square, with the great basilica in the background. Well, the square occupies, more or less, a fifth of the surface.

The Holy thirst

However, it is known that, although it is a tiny territory, its power is enormous. Here is the Holy See of the Catholic Church and it is the residence of the pope, the supreme pontiff for millions and millions of people around the world. For this reason, it is tremendously influential and any of us has a more or less clear idea of ​​the independence of the Vatican City State.

Brief history of the Vatican City State

It is true that for centuries the Papal States, governed by the pope and his court of cardinals, were a much larger territory. In fact, they were lands within Italy that were often not won by faith, but by military conquest.

Nevertheless, those Papal States were completely annexed in the 19th century by Italywhich at that time was a kingdom ruled by Victor Emmanuel II (the same one who gives his name to the famous commercial galleries of Milan).

The annexation occurred in 1860 and it was in 1929 that the Lateran Pacts were signed, which gave rise to the independence that the Vatican City State enjoys today. By the way, one of the signatories of that document was Benito Mussolini.

Completely surrounded by Rome

As we said at the beginning, despite its size, there is so much to see in this little town totally embedded in the heart of the great city of Rome. Starting with the two places that we have already named: Saint Peter’s Square and the Basilica.

Saint Peter’s Square

Who has not seen this square on television? Surely, Vatican Square is one of the most famous on the entire planet. And yet, when you’re there in person, there’s no one left in awe.

It is a grand space and very theatricalwhere everything is designed so that visitors, and especially the faithful, feel tiny compared to the work of God and at the same time feel that they are part of an immense community.

St Peter’s basilica

In this theatrical effect, the facade of the Basilica of San Pedro appears with a leading role, and especially its great dome, which by ecclesiastical regulations has to be the largest of all the Catholic churches in the world.

But the building is not only impressive from the outside, those overwhelming sensations are multiplied when visiting its interior. It is absolutely packed with works of art made with the richest materials and all to colossal dimensions.

It is difficult to choose just one work, so we will choose two: Bernini’s impressive baldachin and the marble delicacy of the Piety by Michelangelo.

The Vatican Museums

And in addition to these two places, there are still the inexhaustible Vatican Museums to visit, with paintings, sculptures, manuscripts or liturgical jewels created over centuries and centuries and which are the maximum expression of the patronage role of the Church. Many of the great masters of all time are represented here.

What to see there? It would be necessary to make a very long list with the works to discover, but we will say only two. On the one hand, highlights the magnificent set of wall paintings of the Sistine Chapel. And on the other, the rooms painted by another of the great masters of the Renaissance: the brilliant Raphael. Just to see these treasures of the Vatican, it is already worth making a trip to Rome.

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