The Vatican City is a world famous religious sight, home to the Pope and some truly breath-taking architecture. But there’s plenty more to the place, and we at Gray Line Rome are happy to share with you 10 fun facts about Vatican City you may not know.
It’s the Smallest Country in the World
As of 2011, the population of the Vatican numbered just 594. This is by far the smallest nation in the world. It also attracts more tourists than anywhere else in the world with nearly 5 ½ million visitors each year.
There’s an ATM with instructions in Latin
Belonging to the Vatican bank, this has to be the only ATM with Latin instructions in the world. How many people have struggled to withdraw money from this ATM?
It owns a telescope in Arizona, USA
With light pollution increasing in Rome, it became increasingly difficult to use the Vatican’s Observatory located 15 miles outside of the city. So, in 1981 the Vatican purchased a state of the art telescope that sits on top of Mount Graham in southeast Arizona.
It has its own army
Known officially as the Pontifical Swiss Guard, this army is only 135 people strong. They were a uniform that looks like it hasn’t been changed since the Renaissance, but they do have modern military training too.
It has its own football team
The Vatican football team consists entirely of employees of the tiny country. Police officers, postal workers, and members of the Swiss Guard have all been known to wear the team colours of yellow, blue, and white.
It has the world’s shortest railway
With just two 300-metre tracks and one station, the Vatican’s railway network is the shortest in the world. It’s used for importing goods and for ceremonial purposes and there are no regular passenger trains scheduled.
It drinks more wine than anywhere else in the world
An average Vatican resident consumes 54.26 litres of wine every year, giving this country the highest wine consumption rate per capita in the world.
The Vatican approved of the Bond movie ‘Skyfall’
The Vatican approved of the Bond movie ‘Skyfall’ saying that Daniel Craig’s Bond was ‘more human’, ‘less of a cliché’, and ‘less attracted to the pleasures of life’.
The Vatican doesn’t like the Beatles
The Vatican condemned the Beatles after John Lennon’s infamous ‘we’re more popular than Jesus’ statement. Although the Vatican has since officially forgiven the famous Liverpudlian band.
It is the only UNESCO world heritage country
Italy has more UNESCO world heritage sites than anywhere else in the world (a great reason to book an Italy trip), but the Vatican is the only country to be entirely designated as a world heritage site.
When booking your vacation in Italy, schedule some time to see the Vatican City. As it’s located in the centre of Rome, it’s easy to get to. It’s full of artistic masterpieces from famous painters like Michelangelo and Raphael, and with all of the above facts in mind, it’s clearly a quirky place like no other.