Vatican City is a sovereign city-state surrounded by the city of Rome. It covers 44 hectares (110 acres) and have a resident population of slightly over 800. It is presently the only current Papal state in existence. The Vatican City however has extraterritorial rights to 13 buildings in Rome outside its limits, as well as Castel Gandolfo, the pope's summer residence.
The Vatican City is an ecclesiastical state with the pope, presently Pope Benedict XVI, being the sovereign, while the president of the government is Giovanni Lajolo. From his seat at the Vatican City, the pope heads the worldwide Catholic Church.
The Vatican City was established on 11 February, 1929, through the Lateran Treaty and is different from the Holy See, the episcopal see of Rome, which dates back to early Christian times. Another difference is in the official language. Ordinances of the Vatican City are published in Italian whereas official documents of the Holy See are issued mainly in Latin.
The running of the Vatican City is supported by the sale of stamps, coins and souvenirs, along with admission fees to its museums and sale of publications. Donations made by believers go into a non-budgetary fund called Peter's Pence. This is used by the Pope for charity and other related work, particularly in developing countries.
Vatican City has its own bank, the Vatican Bank, and its own ATM machine, which is possibly the only ATM in the world with instructions in Latin. It issues its own euro coins, through a special agreement with the European union. Although its population is 800, the state employs close to 2,000 people.
The currency used in the Vatican City is the Euro (EUR). The following are the latest rates for Euro in the last 24-hours.
Planning your visit to Vatican City
You can reach the Vatican City by taking the Rome Metro, tram or bus. Take the Metro line A to Cipro subway station to visit the Vatican Museum. For St. Peter's, take the Metro to Ottaviano subway station.