- One must be a fox in order to recognize traps, and a lion to frighten off wolves. Machiavelli Niccolo
Travel to Vatican City
The world's smallest country, Vatican City occupies 0.44 sq km (about .2 square miles) and is completely encircled by the city of Rome. Vatican City serves as the spiritual center for millions of practicing Roman Catholics worldwide.
But Vatican City is also a tourist magnet thanks to the presence of some of Rome's most popular attractions, including the St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican Museums, home to the Sistine Chapel.
Usually referred to as a City State and often called "The Holy See", Vatican City is home to about 800 residents. None of them are permanent. The population of this tiny area, which surrounds St. Peter's Basilica, is made up of priests, nuns, guards, high-ranking dignitaries and, of course, the pope, and is constantly changing.
History of Vatican City
Vatican City wasn't always this small. In the mid-19th century, the Papal States covered approximately 44,000 square km (17,000 sq mi). However, during the next decade and the struggle for Italian unification, the majority of these states officially became a part of the country of Italy.
The pope's power was abolished and the papal territory was confined to the Vatican. In 1929, the Treaty of Lateran gave The Holy See autonomy, officially establishing this tiny area that attracts millions of visitors each year. The city state is protected by its own military, the strangely-clad Swiss Guards.