Vatican City, also known as the Holy See, is not only the residential city of the Pope but is also the center of Roman Catholicism. The Papal states, that is, modern-day Italy, used to be under the control of the Pope. On 13th May, 1871, the Italian state put restrictions on the Pope's temporal authority on the Vatican, the Lateran areas of Rome and the rural retreat of Castel Gandolfo. This law was not accepted by the Popes. On the 11th February 1929, the Concordat was signed by Benito Mussolini giving the Catholic Church special status in Italy, getting the support from the Pope and an indemnity was paid to the now independent city of Vatican. Since then, the Vatican has become an independent entity.
The Vatican is surrounded by Rome and the major languages spoken are Italian and Latin. The link to Saint Peter and Jesus in the city is represented by the Pope. The city is the symbol of Church authority and apostolic traditions, with the Vatican ceremonies representing actions and words of Jesus Christ and his followers.
Dress Code in Vatican City
A specific dress code has been advised and is to be strictly followed. If the dress code is not followed, you won't be allowed to enter the church premises. It does not matter if the Pope is present in the city or not, one is required and expected to follow the dress code.
Dress Code for Men: Men are supposed to be dressed in shirts or t-shirts with sleeves covering the shoulders and full pants. In case of papal audience, the men can be dressed in black or dark suit. A business attire with a dark tie is also suitable for men.
Dress Code for Women: The Vatican dress code for women stipulates women to wear a black skirt or dress that reaches the knees. The sleeves of the top should be mid to long sleeves, no pants, simple jewelry, and dark closed toe shoes. A black hat or veil is optional.
It is said that in case of a papal audience, white can be worn by only Catholic kings, queens and other reigning Catholic royalty. The basic idea is to wear clothes that are decent and in good taste. Transparent clothes, shorts and skirts with length above the knees, halter and tank tops, spaghetti straps, etc, are a strict no-no. People with bare shoulders and knees can cover themselves properly with a shawl before entering the basilica.
The Vatican authorities have erected signs that explain the requirements and notices stating no one can enter the basilica with bare legs and shoulders. Tourists not abiding by the rules, are stopped from entering the basilica by guards. The vendors in and around the Vatican City, have come up with a novel entrepreneurship idea. They sell paper shawls, pants and shirts to tourist without the appropriate dress attire, that can be worn during their tour of the Vatican and its churches.
Thus, follow the dress code before entering the Vatican City. The holy city is a place of sanctity and maintaining it should be of the highest priority. Whether you are a believer or a non-believer, the dress code is for one and all. The positive aura and the dignity of the place requires one to keep in check their behavior and decorum. Remember to be dressed the way you are expected to be dressed for a religious gathering or in a Church.