Vatican City in Rome

Vatican City and the City of Rome, Italy

By Vatican.com 5/14/2018

Many people travel to Rome, Italy to do some sightseeing and especially in order to see its historical landmarks, archaeological sites and museums displaying items and ruins covering periods from Ancient Rome through the Renaissance and today. But a great many travel to Rome to see sites that actually belong to the Vatican, or the Holy See.

The Holy See is a sovereign state of its own. If you glance at a map of Rome or a map of sightseeing in Rome, you will see many sites, museums and especially churches and basilicas that are an integral part of the Vatican (Vaticano in Italian). So when someone asks you what to see in Rome the answer will surely include Vatican sites.This is also because Vatican City (Città delVaticano) and its many holdings outside the walls are situated in the heart of modern Rome. If you make a trip to Italy,and you want to see places like Venice and Rome, you will also see some Vatican attractions and you should know that when you enter them you are actually entering another country.

Did you know that Italy, whose seat of government is in Rome, has an Ambassador to the Holy See and that this Embassy is actually located outside Vatican territory in Rome itself (like most embassies to the Holy See)?

The Musei Vaticani (Vatican Museums),Vatican Gardens and even St. Peter’s Basilica are indeed within the Vatican City grounds. But the Vatican has other buildings, administrative offices as well as Churches outside the walls. When you walk around the old alleyways or Piazza’s Rome’s historic Center you will come across buildings that will be marked as belonging to the Vatican.

For instance, Vatican Radio (responsible for dissemination of Vatican news) is located right on the Tiber river, beside Castel Sant'Angelo outside Vatican City walls. Also the Archbasilica of St. John Lateran (the official seat of the Bishop of Rome –the Pope), the Basilica of St. Mary Major and the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls are examples of major sites that are located outside Vatican City.

All over Rome there are also universities that belong to the Vatican. The Pontifical Gregorian University, where many Popes studied, the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (also called Angelicum) and Pontifical Biblical Institute are examples of extraterritorial holdings scattered around Roma. For example, If you walk around the area of the Trevi Fountain, one of the most popular tourist attractions in Rome, you might see some young priests and monks stepping out of one of these locations for an Espresso or a Pizza. They are actually stepping out from Vatican State property onto Italian soil in Rome. These distinctions may not mean much to the outside observer but to the people living and working in Vatican institutions around Rome and to the state authorities they are very important. Policing, taxation and even citizenship are different. Of course, most of the priests, employees and students at these Vatican institutions in Rome are not Vatican Nationals. They come from all over the world. Some of them are Italians who were born and raised in Rome and work for a Vatican office but still, when they step into work they know they are entering a place that has different rules, a place that belongs to the Holy See.

Vatican.com

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