Is the Vatican City a country?

The Vatican City isn’t one of the 193 Countries in the United Nations list. But in the list of 197 countries, then yes the Vatican city IS a country. The 197 list of countries is made of us the 193 UN list plus Kosova, Taiwan, Palestine AND the Vatican City. So is the Vatican city a country? Yes, it is!

Did you know? Vatican City is the SMALLEST country in the world too ?

And here is a list of all the other smallest countries in the world too, if you’re a weirdo like me and you’re obsessed with stuff like that!

I wrote a guide to Visiting the Vatican City here.

Is the Vatican City a country
Is the Vatican City a country? Yes!

Do you Need A Passport or Visa to Visit The Vatican City?

The Vatican City is one of Italy’s most famous tourist attractions, visited by over 4 million people every year. You may not believe it, but it’s not part of Italy at all.

Things to see in the Vatican City:

  • The smallest independent state in the world
  • The Sistine Chapel
  • St. Peter’s Basilica
  • A world-renowned collection of art
  • St Peter’s Square
Do you need a visa for the vatican city
Do you need a visa for the Vatican city? No! Me at the Vatican!

Vatican City Facts

  • How big is the Vatican City? 109 acres (less than a square mile)
  • How old is Vatican City? About 1,700 years
  • Vatican City population: 1,000 people

What is the Vatican City?

The Vatican City is the smallest independently recognized state in the world. It covers just 44 hectares of land. Vatican City has a population of around 1,000. Most of the people are associated with the church in some capacity. In many ways, it runs just like any other country; it has its own telephone system (and country code), radio station, a banking system, and even an astronomical observatory. In fact, the Vatican post office is recognized as one of the world’s best postal services, with many Romans choosing to post their letters there instead of using the arguably less reliable Poste Italiane.

is the Vatican City a country
Ss the Vatican City a country?

Is The Vatican City A Country?

The Vatican area of Rome has been a special site for the Church since a basilica was constructed on what was thought to be St. Peter’s grave in the 4th century. The Vatican walls were originally built in the 8thcentury, with modifications being made up until the 1600s. Up until 1870, popes also owned various regional territories across Italy including most of Lazio, Marche, Umbria and Romagna. When Italy became a unified state, these lands were seized, apart from those within the Vatican City walls. After a 60-year standoff between the Italian government and the pope, during which time Pope Pius IX refused to leave the city walls, the Lateran Pacts were signed by Benito Mussolini in February 1929. This agreement gave the Vatican the right to exist as its own sovereign state and offered the church $92 million for the land that was seized.  

Is the Vatican City a Country?
Is the Vatican City a Country?

Is the Vatican City an Absolute Monarchy?

The Vatican City is an absolute monarchy, with the pope as its sovereign head. The pope has absolute power over all processes, including the executive, legislative and judicial branches of the government. These function in the same way as many others across the world, but lack one fairly important power: taxation. For this reason, the state’s money largely comes from the Vatican Museums’ admission fees and stamp and souvenir sales.

The Vatican mints its own coins, with Vatican euros being legal tender in the Vatican, Italy and throughout the Eurozone, so keep an eye out for any coins with the pope’s face on. The Vatican even has its own army, the Swiss Guard, who have been protecting the pope for the last 510 years. Requirements to join the Swiss Guard are pretty strict: you must be a single Catholic male with Swiss citizenship!

Is the Vatican City a Country?
Is the Vatican City a country?

Where is the Vatican City?

It’s within the city of Rome, in Italy. If you visit the Colosseum in Rome, it’s about 5km West of that. 


Is There A Ticket to Enter the Vatican City? How Much Does it Cost To Enter the Vatican?

It’s free! To confirm, there are no fees or tickets to enter Vatican City. Just stroll in and waltz around St. Peter’s Square. You can also enter St. Peter’s Basilica free of charge too. You do, however, have to pay to enter the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel (€16/$19).

Is vatican city a country
Is vatican city a country

So, do you need a passport to go to Vatican City?

You may be wondering, do you need a passport to go to Vatican City? In short, no. Vatican City has no airport and no sea borders, so the only way to enter is from Italy. The Vatican has an open-border policy with Italy (quite literally – it’s almost impossible to tell exactly where one ends and the other begins!) meaning that if you have a visa or the right to enter Italy, you can enter the Vatican City too. This means that getting in is easy; just walk into St. Peter’s Square and you will have left Italy and entered the Vatican. Similarly, getting inside the walls to see the Vatican Museums is really no different than visiting any other attraction. Unless you book a tour or a skip the line ticket, the wait might be considerably longer.  

Do Citizens of Vatican City Have Passports?

Although no one is actually born inside Vatican City because there are no hospitals, there are Vatican citizens and passport holders. Citizenship of the Vatican City is given on the grounds of appointment to work in a certain capacity in the service of the Holy See and is usually taken away if employment ends. If your further family want citizenship, citizenship is also extended to the immediate family of the citizen if they live under the same roof.

Do you need a visa for the Vatican?
Do you need a visa for the Vatican?

Does Anyone Hold a Vatican City Passport?

The term “Vatican passport” can mean either a passport issued by the Holy See or one issued by the Vatican City State, and there are roughly 1,000 of these. So if the Vatican city is a country, then the Holy See is the universal government of the Catholic Church and the Vatican, although it remains under the Holy See’s “full ownership, exclusive dominion, and sovereign authority and jurisdiction.” For this reason, the Vatican City issues normal passports for its citizens, and the Holy See issues personal, diplomatic and service passports. So, now you know, if you really don’t want to leave after your trip to Italy, you can always get a job with the church and become a Vatican citizen.

DID YOU KNOW? The Vatican City has the HIGHEST crime rate in the world? Yup! Because of the tiny population of citizens, but large amount of tourists. Each petty crime is a HUGE spike in the ‘crime per capita’. Eeeek. Don’t tell the Pope.

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