Is the Vatican Inside Rome?

By Anna Duncan

The Vatican, officially known as the Vatican City State, is indeed located within the city of Rome. It is an independent city-state enclaved within Rome, Italy.

The Vatican is the spiritual and administrative headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church and is the smallest internationally recognized independent state in the world. Let’s explore more about this unique place!

Location and Size

The Vatican City is situated on the west bank of the Tiber River, within Rome’s historic center. It covers an area of approximately 44 hectares (110 acres), making it one-eighth the size of New York City’s Central Park.

Despite its small size, it holds immense religious, historical, and cultural significance.


The history of the Vatican dates back to ancient times. In Roman times, Emperor Caligula built a circus on what is now St. Peter’s Square.

Later, Emperor Nero constructed his gardens there. The area gained religious importance when St. Peter was crucified nearby and buried on Vatican Hill.

In 313 AD, Emperor Constantine legalized Christianity in the Roman Empire through the Edict of Milan. This led to increased influence and power for Christianity in Rome.

Fast forward to 756 AD when Pope Stephen II officially declared Rome as an independent state ruled by popes – known as the Papal States. However, it wasn’t until 1929 that the current sovereign state status was established through the Lateran Treaty between Italy and Pope Pius XI.

Vatican Museums

One of the main attractions within the Vatican City is its extensive collection of art housed in various museums. The most famous among them is undoubtedly the Sistine Chapel with its breathtaking ceiling painted by Michelangelo.

The Vatican Museums also feature a vast array of sculptures, paintings, tapestries, and historical artifacts collected by the popes throughout centuries. Visitors can explore the Gallery of Maps, the Raphael Rooms, and many other artistic treasures.

St. Peter’s Basilica

Another iconic landmark within the Vatican City is St. Peter’s Basilica. It is one of the world’s largest churches and an important pilgrimage site for Catholics.

The basilica is renowned for its stunning architecture, including Michelangelo’s Piet√† sculpture and Bernini’s baldachin.

Pope and Papal Functions

The Vatican City serves as the official residence of the Pope, who is considered the head of state and spiritual leader of the Roman Catholic Church. The Pope presides over various religious ceremonies and functions held within the Vatican, such as papal audiences and Masses.

Every Wednesday, visitors can attend the Papal Audience in St. Peter’s Square where they have an opportunity to see and hear Pope Francis deliver teachings and blessings.

In Conclusion

The Vatican City is indeed located within Rome but holds a unique status as a separate city-state governed by the Pope. Its rich history, remarkable art collections, St. Peter’s Basilica, and papal functions make it a must-visit destination for travelers interested in exploring religious and cultural heritage.