In spite of being a part of Italy, the Vatican City strangely stands out as an independent country. However, this was not always the case. The Lateran Treaty established the state after a long series of disputes with the Italian government. The Treaty made Vatican City independent in 1929 and with that the Roman Catholics earned a special place in Italy.
✞ The term Vatican finds its origin in Latin. It comes from the word Mons Vaticanus, meaning "Vatican Mount".
✞ Covering an area of approximately 44 hectares (110 acres), the Vatican City is home to a population of about 812 (as of December 2011).
✞ Importing food, water, electricity, gas and other necessary essentials is a must.
✞ No income tax is exercised and no restrictions are laid on the import or export of money.
✞ A telephone system, astronomical observatory, radio station, post office, and banking system are all owned by the Vatican.
✞ It has no armed forces. Italy provides this Vatican City with military defense.
✞ The Pope, Cardinals, members of the Swiss Guard and Clergy are issued their own passport by the Vatican City.
✞ The Vatican City has no diplomatic service as such; these relations are handled by the Holy See.
✞ The UNESCO has declared the Vatican a World Heritage Site, making it the only site to encompass a whole country.
✞ The world-famous Vatican museums extend over 9 miles. It is believed that it would take you 4 years to complete the circuit even if you spend merely 1 minute admiring each painting!
✞ Loggia of the Benediction is the name given to the balcony upon which the newly elected Pope stands. The first blessing called Urbi et Orbi is recited by the Pope from this balcony, when it is heard by millions of people all over the world.
✞ However, surprisingly, it has not established any language as official, under law.
✞ Vatican City is the capital of the state of Vatican City.
✞ Rome, the capital of Italy, completely surrounds the area of the Vatican.
✞ The current military force of the Vatican constitutes The Pontifical Swiss Guards, better known as the Vatican Guards, who originally served as personal bodyguards to the Pope.