The Vatican City
is an independent papal state located in the commune of Rome, Italy. The nation-state covers a total area of 44 hectares (109 acres) and has an estimated population of 800 people as of 2013. It is surrounded by medieval and Renaissance walls, except at St. Peter’s Square to the south-east.
The Vatican City is one of the world's smallest independent nations, with its own diplomatic missions, newspaper, post office, radio station, banking system, army of 100 Swiss Guards, and publishing house. In addition, it enjoys extraterritoriality over Castel Gandolfo, as well as several churches and palaces in Rome proper. Its independence was officially recognized in the Lateran Treaty of 1929, granting the Pope absolute executive, legislative, and judicial powers within the city.
Notable places in the Vatican City include St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Palace, and the Vatican Museums. Inside the museums are works of art from some of the world's most famous painters such as Michelangelo, Pinturicchio, and Raphael. The Vatican Library also houses a priceless collection of manuscripts from pre-Christian and Christian eras.
The Pope and other representatives of the Vatican State travel extensively to maintain international relations. The state also serves as the spiritual center of the Roman Catholic Church.