Shown above is the satellite map of Vatican City.
Said to be the smallest independent country, the Vatican is actually a city-state located inside the city of Rome in Italy. The city-state is the seat of the Holy See, the headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church.
Perhaps the most prominent landmark in the Vatican is St. Peter’s Basilica. The cathedral and its surrounding open space, St. Peter’s Square, is situated on the lower right-hand side of the map. Many historical events significant to the Catholic Church have taken place here. These include canonizations of saints, declaration of new popes, and funerals of popes who have died. The Pope’s regular audience is also conducted here.
Located immediately north of the Basilica is the Sistine Chapel. This is where the pope, the head of the Church and the Bishop of Rome, resides. The chapel is also where the election of a new pope, known as a conclave, takes place.
Lastly, you will probably notice the lush green fields in the west of the city. These are the Gardens of Vatican City.
People are apparently free to enter the Vatican from Rome, as there are no border walls between the two cities. According to Reddit user u/LBreda, there once stood a wall surrounding St. Peter’s Basilica, named the Mura Leonine. Throughout history, several popes expanded that wall. At present, only the remnants of the original wall remain, and that the city’s current border is “without the zone between the Basilica and the Mura Leonine, so the Basilica remains an open ‘breach’.” The walls are now under Italian rule, and while the Vatican “relies on it’s [sic] protection,” namely the Swiss Guards, the city also enlists the help of the Italian police to man the Basilica’s surrounding Square.
You can learn more about the Vatican’s fascinating history and even tour the city by checking out these books:
- 101 Surprising Facts About St. Peter’s and the Vatican
- When in Rome: A Journal of Life in Vatican City
- Vatican: All the Paintings
- Guide to the Vatican: Including St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums
- Lonely Planet: Discover Rome 2019
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