Where is Vatican City? Location of holy micro-state - will Pope Benedict XVI be buried there?

Vatican City is a popular sit for tourists to visit. (Credit: Getty Images)Vatican City is a popular sit for tourists to visit. (Credit: Getty Images)
Vatican City is a popular sit for tourists to visit. (Credit: Getty Images) | Getty Images
All eyes will be on Vatican City as former Pope Benedict XVI is laid to rest following his death on New Year’s Eve

The Vatican was rocked by the news of the death of the former Pope Benedict XVI.

His death was confirmed on New Years’ Eve (31 December), almost a decade after he stepped down from the role due to poor health.

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The eyes of the world are once again on the city-state as they prepare to lay the former Catholic Church leader to rest. The funeral of the late leader is due to take place on Thursday 5 January, within the traditional four to six days for popes who have passed away.

Vatican City is one of the most famous microstates in the world. It holds the record as the smallest state in the world for both area size and population.

As it prepares to host Pope Benedict XVI’s funeral, we take a look at Vatican City and just where it is located in the world. Here’s everything you need to know about the city-state.

Where is the Vatican?

Vatican City is its own independent state, however it is nestled inside another country. The famous location can be found as an enclave of Rome, Italy.

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Major sites are accessible to tourists without a need for passport checks, however other areas remain off limits to visitors. Vatican City boasts famous landmarks such as St Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel, which welcome millions of visitors per year.

At only 125 acres big, it is the smallest state on earth. Its population is 453 people, also making it the smallest in population, which is made up mostly of members of the clergy, other members of the church, those serving the church and their families.

Was the Vatican ever a part of Italy?

Yes, Vatican City was once an incorporated part of Italy. However, it gained independence in 1929 when the two states signed the Lateran Treaty.

Since 1929, it has been under the control of the Catholic Church and the Holy See. It is ruled by the sitting Pope, who also holds the title of the Bishop of Rome.

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With independence from Italy, the church controls issues such as taxation and the economy. The Vatican is tax-free, with the running of the microstate’s economy coming from donations from members of the church, souvenirs bought by tourists and entry fees from its museums and famous landmarks.

Will Pope Benedict XVI be buried in the Vatican?

The Vatican has released the information concerning the funeral for Pope Benedict XVI. It is due to take place on Thursday 5 January, with the sitting Pope Francis leading the mass.

The ceremony will take place in St Peter’s Square. Pope Benedict will also lie in state at the historical St Peter’s Basilica, with those wishing to pay respect able to do so.

However, the resting place of Benedict has not yet been released. It is tradition that popes are laid to rest at St Peter’s Basilica, with the only exception being Pius XI, who is buried at the Chapel of St Sebastian.

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