Established in 1929 and lies in the heart of Rome on a low hill on the west bank of the River Tiber, it is the world's smallest independent state and headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church. The Pope exercises sovereignty and has absolute legislative, executive, and judicial powers.
Walled with six gates, its made up of the Vatican Palace, the Papal Gardens, St Peter's Square and St Peter's Basilica (the largest in the world). Inside the Vatican gardens are some unique pieces of art, including the Sphere in the Sphere (right) sculptured by an Italian Arnaldo Pamadoro, which represents the church working within us, there are 2 others in the world, one in New York United Nations and the other at Trinity College in Dublin. (If anyone can draw a connection please for these locations and the meaning of it all please contact me.)
It has its own police, newspaper, telephone and telegraph services, stamps, radio station which broadcasts in 34 languages from transmitters within the Vatican City.
Its main tourist attractions are the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel painted by Michelangelo Buonarroti, outstanding museums and a collection of ancient manuscripts is priceless.
The Vatican City is well kept and the cues to the Sistine Chapel are very long, get there early, if you arrive after 10am you may have missed your chance to get in. It takes about two hours to reach the chapel, once arrived the brilliance of the masterpiece of Michelangelo can finally be appreciated, even with the churches new version of the restored artwork where the original nudes have been retouched and covered from the public view.