Posted by Carter | Under Top Five, Where to?
Friday Jun 12, 2015
5 Vatican City Facts You Should Know Before Visiting
One of the most popular places to tour in all of Europe and a must for anyone visiting Rome, the Vatican City (also known as The Holy See) is a must for those looking for a little history, and a lot of surprises. We’ve put together 5 Vatican City Facts to read before you head to the picturesque location that is surrounded by Rome, Italy:
1. Surprisingly, the Vatican has its own post office, pharmacy, and publishing house.
Not to mention the influential radio station (Radio Vatican broadcasting throughout Europe), web site, important observatory that hosts international astronomers’ conferences, and a unique banking system that is central to the finances of the state. Speaking of banks, the Vatican Bank is actually the only bank in the world that allows ATM users to select Latin to perform transactions (in case you were fancying doing just that!).
2. What is the smallest country in the world? You guessed it, it’s the Vatican City.
Encircled by a 2-mile border of stone, visiting the Vatican City which is governed as an absolute monarchy with the pope at its head and currently has a population of 842, is exciting and slightly crowded. Incredibly, the Vatican produces its own euros, prints its own stamps, issues passports and license plates, and has its own flag and anthem. There are also no taxes, no restrictions on the import or export of funds, and no customs that have to be paid. Employees of the Vatican pay no income tax on gasoline or goods that they buy there and non-Italians enjoy allowances on their monthly salaries.
3. The Vatican Museum contains one of the most prevalent art collections in the world.
With multiple galleries and displays, and works from the immense collection built up by the Popes throughout the centuries including some of the most renowned classical sculptures and most important masterpieces of Renaissance art in the country, it’s quite the site to see. The Sistine Chapel nearby is famous for its frescos, which include works by Perugino, Domenico Ghirlandaio, Botticelli, as well as the ceiling and Last Judgment by Michelangelo.
4. The Vatican is digitizing its library and making it available to everyone for free.
The Vatican Apostolic Library is undertaking an extensive digital preservation of its 82,000 document collection. The entire undertaking is expected to take at least 15 years and cost more than $63 million dollars; an effort the Vatican Library is attempting to support, in part, by crowd-source funding. Partly because of how great the task is, we just couldn’t leave this off the list of Vatican City facts.
5. The Vatican has no military branch.
Within the Vatican, the Swiss Guard has been responsible for the personal safety of the Pope since 1506, but in reality, its function is ceremonial and policing of the state is left to the Civil Guard. If anything were to go wrong, Italy would step in and take responsibility for defense. When visiting the Vatican City, you can be sure to see the Swiss Guard in their official dress uniform which is made up of blue, red, orange, and yellow with a distinctly Renaissance appearance.
Visiting the Vatican City
As the spiritual and governing center of the Roman Catholic Church, and with cultural sites such as St. Peter’s Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, and the Vatican Museums; visiting the Vatican City is truly something to be remembered! If you plan on touring iconic sites like Vatican City, keep these fascinating facts in mind to uphold your appreciation for the amazing nation-state but be sure to visit some of the other attractions Europe has to behold, too. You’ll want a genuine and immersive experience of this wonderful country and a car rental in Italy right from the Rome Airport is the perfect way to see as much as you can in comfort and convenience! Contact Kemwel today to learn just how much you can save on your next vacation abroad with some of the best travel deals and specials available; check out our options online or call one of our friendly travel experts, toll-free at 1-877-820-0668. Your next international adventure awaits!