Who doesn’t know about the Vatican? This might just be your first thought when coming across the title of this article. But truth is that there are many interesting facts and titbits of knowledge which even the most seasoned Vatican aficionados may not know! Here’s a look at 10 of them.
Michelangelo’s work on the Apostolic Palace
While the fact that Michelangelo worked on the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the Pope, is relatively well known, not many know that Michelangelo toiled very hard for 4 long years between 1508 and 1512 to complete the fresco paintings on the ceiling.
Majority of Vatican citizens live abroad!
That sounds way too hard to be true, isn’t it? But it is a fact! While the total citizens of Vatican barely number around 800, more than 400, i.e. in excess of 50%, live abroad, occupying various diplomatic positions around the world.
Vatican citizenship comes only with appointment!
Typically, across the world, being born in a particular place is sufficient in itself to offer citizenship of that place but not so in Vatican; here you can only be appointed as a citizen of the place, without being assured of that, say by virtue of being born there.
Vatican has its own mail system
Not only does Vatican have its own mail system – with its own Post Office and stamps, many Romans use its services since it is much quicker than the routine Italian postal system.
Vatican has its own Passport system
Besides the mail system, Vatican has its own Passport system as well for its citizens, who as we mentioned above, are appointed and therefore would typically comprise of the Pope (of course!), other cardinals, clergymen as well as members of the Swiss guards.
Extensive use of the Latin Language
Vatican is one of the few places in the world – maybe the only one, where Latin language is still used extensively, so much so that even the ATMs in Vatican have Latin as one of their languages which users can choose!
Vatican has a telescope in Arizona
As hard as it may seem to believe, it is true that Vatican has a telescope of its own in distant Arizona in the US, which helps it with its astronomical research, in view of increasing light pollution in Rome.
Mussolini paved the way for Vatican
Again, it may seem hard to believe but it was in fact the hardened dictator Mussolini who paved the way for Vatican to exist as a separate entity – a sovereign state, with Lateran Pacts being signed by Mussolini himself.
Vatican has an active social media presence
Today, Vatican has a very active presence on the social media circuit, with its own website, YouTube channel as well as the Pope’s own Twitter account.
Prolific Vatican museums
Vatican museums are said to be so prolific that even if one took a minute to look at each painting in them, it would take 4 years to see them all!
So as you can see, Vatican sure has some very interesting facts about it!
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