Vatican City - Unique Infrastructure Of A Unique Place

Rooftop view of the Vatican City town square.
Rooftop view of the Vatican City town square.

5. Vatican Library and Secret Archives

One of the oldest libraries in the world, the Vatican Library in Vatican City was formally established in 1475. The library houses one of the most treasured collections of books on theology, history, science, law, philosophy, and some other subjects. More than 1.1 million books and 75,000 codices are stored within the library and anyone with a genuine interest and documentary proof of their research needs is allowed to use the library for research. The Secret Archives of the Vatican, though originally a part of the Vatican Library were separated from the same towards the beginning of the 17th Century. Over 150,000 items including papal account books, state papers, and other church documents, are stored here with limited access to researchers. The Vatican Archives is owned by the Holy Pope and as per law, his death or resignation immediately passes on the ownership of the archives to his next successor.

4. Vatican Heliport and Rail Station

To ensure a quick and safe transport of the Pope and visiting heads of state to and from the Vatican, the Vatican City hosts a small helipad. The helipad encompasses a circular landing and takeoff area for the helicopters with a 82- by 56-foot landing zone. The helipad was constructed during the reign of Pope Paul VI in 1976. The Vatican City also hosts a railway system, labelled as the shortest national railway system in the world with only one station within the Vatican. The railway station and track construction were completed during the reign of Pope Pius XI and is connected to the railway system of Italy allowing the transport of imported goods from Italy to the Vatican. Occasionally, passengers are transported on the railways for ceremonial or symbolic reasons.

3. Vatican National Football Team

The Vatican City national football team is made of players who reside in the Vatican, primarily employees of the Vatican like the police officers, Swiss Guard members, postal employees, government officials and others. Since the employees are all involved in performing tasks of national and international importance, the players of the team are not always easily available. Thus, the team has played only rare matches including few international competitive matches. The Vatican City football association, founded in 1972, is currently presided by Domenico Ruggerio.

2. St. Peter's Basilica

The St. Peter’s Basilica is a Renaissance period church designed by some of the most well-known Renaissance artists and architects like Michelangelo, Bernini, Bramante, and Maderno. The church is regarded as one of the holiest Christian churches in the world and holds a special, sacred place in the hearts of all devout Christians. The St. Peter’s Basilica also houses the sacred tomb of St. Peter, the first Pope which rests directly below the altar of the Church. Today the St. Peter’s Basilica is the site of many important Christian liturgical events attended by the Pope and other religious leaders of the Vatican. Millions of people also visit the church for pilgrimage or tourism and also for attending the religious ceremonies held inside the church or its adjacent St. Peter’s Square.

1. Sistine Chapel

The world famous Sistine Chapel of the Vatican City is located in the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the Pope. The Chapel is the seat of significant Vatican ceremonies like the Papal conclave, the selection ceremony of the new Pope. The Sistine Chapel is also famous for the spectacular frescoes that decorate its ceilings and walls, creations by some of the most famed Renaissance period painters. One of the most famous among them is Michelangelo’s painting of the Last Judgement.


More in Travel