Vatican City State


Form of Government
Absolute Monarchy

Head of State
Pope Francis I (elected on 13 March 2013)

State Secretary
His Most Reverend Eminence Card. Pietro Parolin

Official Languages
Latin, Italian

About 800 people, including lay persons and clerics. More than 450 people have citizenship, while the remainder are authorised to reside in the State without being citizens. Citizenship and residence are acquired or lost depending on issued orders and due to service reasons.

Vatican City


0.439 (km²)

Map of Vatican City

Entrance to Vatican

Euro (€) since 01/01/2002

Phone number and official website
+39 06 6982;

Vehicle plate code
SCV (State vehicles), CV (Residents’ vehicles)

How to get to Vatican

Vatican holidays

In addition to the Curia Romana and its Dicasteries, there are other institutes that are connected with the Curia, even if they are not actually part of the Curia itself; they give many useful services to the Holy Father and the Church in general. These institutes have their own status and regulation:

6 May 1527
Sack of Rome. Landsknecht troops (a mercenary, Lutheran army of Charles V), came down from northern Italy and encountered little resistance entering the City, staying for nine months. Pope Clement VII managed to escape thanks to the resistance of the Swiss Guards, with 147 men losing their lives. This sacrifice is remembered on 6 May of each year, when new recruits are sworn in.

February 1798 – September 1799
First Roman Republic. French troops of the Directory took Rome with the help of the insurgent local population. Pope Pious VI was exiled. The republic was then overthrown by troops of the Kingdom of Naples, with the new Pope Pious VII restoring the Papal State.

1809 – 1814
Rome annexed to Napoleon’s empire. Pious VII had crowned Napoleon in 1804 and negotiated the Concordat. He later repudiated the emperor, only to be imprisoned and deported, until the empire fell, and the Papal state was restored

February – July 1849: Second Roman Republic.
The Risorgimento tide of 1848 that washed over Europe led to the fall of the Papacy and creation of a republic in Rome, with a triumvirate headed by Giuseppe Mazzini. The republic was quickly overthrown with the intervention of French troops.

Porta Pia Breach. Garibaldi troops took Rome and annexed it to the Kingdom of Italy. The Papal State, which extended to the whole of central Italy, ceased to exist, as did the Pope’s temporal power.

Signature of Lateranensi Pacts. The fascist regime put a permanent frame to relations between Italy and the Holy See, creating the Vatican City State and guaranteeing mutual sovereignty and independence.

Pope John XXIII convened the Vatican II Council, the Church’s 21st ecumenical council. The council concluded three years later under Pope Paul VI. The Council sought a gradual opening up of the Church to the modern world, with a vast set of reforms to make it more accessible to worshippers.

16 October 1978 – 2 April 2005
Papacy of John Paul II. A leading figure of the Church, made a significant contribution to its renewal, seeking dialogue with society and with other religions.

Pope John Paul II promulgated Pastor Bonus Apostolic Constitution, reforming the Roman Curia.

The “Fundamental Law of the Vatican City State” was promulgated, replacing the previous 1929 law, redefining the State’s legal status.

Benedict XVI announces his decision to resign: he is the first Pope in the Modern era to do it.

  • Lateranensi Pacts
  • Pastor Bonus Apostolic Constitution
  • General Regulations of Roman Curia (1999)
  • Fundamental Law of the Vatican City State