[Country map of Holy See (Vatican City)]

Holy See (Vatican City)


Location: Southern Europe, an enclave of Rome (Italy)

Map references: Europe

total area: 0.44 sq km
land area: 0.44 sq km
comparative area: about 0.7 times the size of The Mall in Washington, DC

Land boundaries: total 3.2 km, Italy 3.2 km

Coastline: 0 km (landlocked)

Maritime claims: none; landlocked

International disputes: none

Climate: temperate; mild, rainy winters (September to mid-May) with hot, dry summers (May to September)

Terrain: low hill

Natural resources: none

Land use:
arable land: 0%
permanent crops: 0%
meadows and pastures: 0%
forest and woodland: 0%
other: 100%

Irrigated land: 0 sq km

current issues: NA
natural hazards: NA
international agreements: signed, but not ratified - Air Pollution, Environmental Modification

Note: urban; landlocked; enclave of Rome, Italy; world's smallest state; outside the Vatican City, 13 buildings in Rome and Castel Gandolfo (the pope's summer residence) enjoy extraterritorial rights


Population: 830 (July 1995 est.)

Population growth rate: 1.15% (1995 est.)

Birth rate: NA

Death rate: NA

Net migration rate: NA

Infant mortality rate: NA

Life expectancy at birth: NA

Total fertility rate: NA

noun: none
adjective: none

Ethnic divisions: Italians, Swiss

Religions: Roman Catholic

Languages: Italian, Latin, various other languages

Labor force: NA
by occupation: dignitaries, priests, nuns, guards, and 3,000 lay workers who live outside the Vatican


conventional long form: The Holy See (State of the Vatican City)
conventional short form: Holy See (Vatican City)
local long form: Santa Sede (Stato della Citta del Vaticano)
local short form: Santa Sede (Citta del Vaticano)

Digraph: VT

Type: monarchical-sacerdotal state

Capital: Vatican City

Independence: 11 February 1929 (from Italy)

National holiday: Installation Day of the Pope, 22 October (1978) (John Paul II)
note: Pope John Paul II was elected on 16 October 1978

Constitution: Apostolic Constitution of 1967 (effective 1 March 1968)

Legal system: NA

Suffrage: limited to cardinals less than 80 years old

Executive branch:
chief of state: Pope JOHN PAUL II (Karol WOJTYLA; since 16 October 1978); election last held 16 October 1978 (next to be held after the death of the current pope); results - Karol WOJTYLA was elected for life by the College of Cardinals
head of government: Secretary of State Archbishop Angelo Cardinal SODANO (since NA 1991)
cabinet: Pontifical Commission; appointed by Pope

Legislative branch: unicameral Pontifical Commission

Judicial branch: none; normally handled by Italy

Political parties and leaders: none

Other political or pressure groups: none (exclusive of influence exercised by church officers)

Member of: IAEA, ICFTU, INTELSAT, IOM (observer), ITU, OAS (observer), OSCE, UN (observer), UNCTAD, UNHCR, UPU, WIPO, WTO (observer)

Diplomatic representation in US:
chief of mission: Apostolic Pro-Nuncio Archbishop Agostino CACCIAVILLAN
chancery: 3339 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 333-7121

US diplomatic representation:
chief of mission: Ambassador Raymond L. FLYNN
embassy: Via Delle Terme Deciane 26, Rome 00153
mailing address: PSC 59, APO AE 09624
telephone: [39] (6) 46741
FAX: [39] (6) 6380159

Flag: two vertical bands of yellow (hoist side) and white with the crossed keys of Saint Peter and the papal miter centered in the white band


Overview: This unique, noncommercial economy is supported financially by contributions (known as Peter's Pence) from Roman Catholics throughout the world, the sale of postage stamps and tourist mementos, fees for admission to museums, and the sale of publications. The incomes and living standards of lay workers are comparable to, or somewhat better than, those of counterparts who work in the city of Rome.

revenues: $169 million
expenditures: $167.5 million, including capital expenditures of $NA (1993)

capacity: 5,000 kW standby
production: power supplied by Italy
consumption per capita: NA kWh (1992)

Industries: printing and production of a small amount of mosaics and staff uniforms; worldwide banking and financial activities

Currency: 1 Vatican lira (VLit) = 100 centesimi

Exchange rates: Vatican lire (VLit) per US$1 - 1,609.5 (January 1995), 1,612.4 (1994), 1,573.7 (1993), 1,232.4 (1992), 1,240.6 (1991), 1,198.1 (1990); note - the Vatican lira is at par with the Italian lira which circulates freely

Fiscal year: calendar year


total: 862 meters; note - connects to Italy's network at Rome's Saint Peter's station
narrow gauge: 862 meters 1.435-m gauge

Highways: none; all city streets

Ports: none

Airports: none


Telephone system: 2,000 telephones; automatic exchange
local: NA
intercity: tied into Italian system
international: uses Italian system

broadcast stations: AM 3, FM 4, shortwave 0
radios: NA

broadcast stations: 0
televisions: NA

Defense Forces

Note: defense is the responsibility of Italy; Swiss Papal Guards are posted at entrances to the Vatican City