Country File: Holy See (Vatican City)

And for the second stop on our tour of microstates completely surrounded by Italy, today we have one that you’ve definitely heard of:

  • the smallest country in the world by area
  • the smallest country in the world by population
  • the only Christian theocracy
  • the only country that is 100% completely a World Heritage site

And that is the Status Civitatis Vaticanæ Stato della Città del Vaticano, commonly known as Vatican City!

Officially, Vatican City is the territory of the Holy See (Sancta Sedes), the central government of the Catholic Church, and it is the Holy See that makes international treaties; so you’ll find “Holy See” occasionally … but generally “Vatican.”

Whilst not exactly a UNESCO member — or a United Nations member either! — the Holy See signed the World Heritage Convention on 07 October 1982, making it a real country by‘s standard, and it has two inscribed World Heritage Sites:

Historic Centre of Rome, the Properties of the Holy See in that City Enjoying Extraterritorial Rights and San Paolo Fuori le Mura
Vatican City

TCC and MTP count Vatican City as one place.


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