The world's smallest country, just a complex of grand buildings and gardens located as a walled enclave within the city of Rome, the capital of Italy. But officially and politically the Vatican is regarded as an independent sovereign city state.


Vatican City

Officially called "Citta del Vaticano", or sometimes "Holy See", it may be the tiniest "country" in the world, but it's a huge heavyweight in terms of history and tourism. Enormous power has emanated from this place for the best part of the last two millennia – which brought war and devastation to countless places around the world, in particular Europe and the Middle East while at the same time brought huge fortunes to the Vatican. Millions of visitors go there each year (tourists and "pilgrims") further boosting its coffers.

Most visitors to the Vatican want to see the world-famous Vatican Museums and the celebrated Sistine Chapel. Expect huge crowds and hefty costs for doing that. Otherwise you can just freely wander into St Peter's Square (Piazza San Pietro) and look around. The Swiss guards are a sight to behold. Their brightly coloured stripy outfits and strange helmets add a weird and almost surreal element to the whole experience. And, yes, the force is entirely comprised of Swiss citizens.


Back to Top