Is the Vatican a country or a city?

Though the Vatican is among the more famous places in the world, many may still not know much about the basics beyond that it’s the place where the Pope dwells. As such, let’s cover the absolute basics. Is the Vatican a country or a city? Does it have a capital?

Though it’s tempting to say that the Vatican is in Rome, it’s faulty from an administrative standpoint. Yes, the Vatican City is geographically inside of Rome, but the Vatican City is an independent city-state (the official full name of the Vatican is the Vatican City State). It’s, as such, a separate country in and of itself, an enclave surrounded by Rome from all sides. It’s located on the right bank of the Tiber river in the western part of Rome.

The Vatican City State was created as part of the 1929 Lateran Treaty, signed by Italy and the Holy See. The group of three pacts that the Lateran Treaty was a part of was actually signed by Pope Pius XI from the side of the Holy See and King Victor Emmanuel III with Benito Mussolini as his Prime Minister on the side of the Kingdom of Italy.

To summarise, the Vatican is a city-state, and so it’s both a country and a city. It’s got its own administrative system, its own embassy, its own passports, diplomatic representatives, etc.


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