About the Post

Author Information

My name is Scott and I like to travel. There I said it, wow that does feel better. There is probably a program for my affliction somewhere. I am what I would consider a Normal Guy. I am a native Arizonan, sometimes we are called “Zonies”. I am in my mid 40′s and enjoy a great life. I am self employed and have a wonderful daughter and Partner. Although I would say my life is a fairly normal one, I am also quite lucky in that I have the ability to travel and enjoy the world, I enjoy learning about other cultures and experiencing the world around us. I want to be right upfront about the type of travel I enjoy and the type I don’t. You will probably not ever read a story of about me backpacking my way through the serengeti during the height of summer, nor will you probably read any stories of me sleeping in the presidential suite of the Ritz Carlton in Paris. I am not a budget traveler, nor am I an uber luxury traveler, I fall somewhere in the middle, where most people fall I believe. I started this blog for the sole purpose of sharing my stories, my views and my excitement for traveling around this world with my friends, family. However it doesn’t stop there for me, I also wanted to make friends with others around the world, those who travel and those who dream of travel. Blogs and Websites evolve over time, mine will no doubt expand over time as well please come back and see what has taken place. However if you have come to my blog to schedule a flight or a hotel, this is not the place.

Strange Things About……Vatican City

I am always amused by strange or unknown facts about places I visit.  Some of them are humorous and some just plain disgusting.  I decided I would share some strange but true facts about The Vatican City.  I have been to Vatican City a couple of times now and am in absolute awe of it’s art, architecture and religious significance to the World.  I am also in awe of it’s history and hidden stories.

Believe it or Not!

  • Vatican City is the smallest country in the World with the smallest population.  It measures 44 Hectares (110 Acres) and has a population of about 1000 people.

  • TheVatican has its own Post Office and issues its own stamps.  The Vatican mail system is widely used by Romans because it is a lot quicker than Italian mail.

  • The Vatican’s radio station is located in a tower inside the Vatican Gardens and broadcasts in 20 languages throughout the World.

  • The Vatican’s railway station was opened in 1930 and is mostly used for freight.

  • Piazza di San Pietro (St. Peter’s Square) and the Colonnade were designed and built by Bernini (completed in 1667).  At 314 meters long and 240 meters wide it is the largest square in Rome.  Bernini (with the help of his pupils) designed the 140 statues of saints which decorate the Colonnade.

  • The Vatican City issues its own passports; the Pope, Cardinals, members of the Swiss Guard and Clergy being the recipients.

  • The Vatican City is a UNESCO World Heritage Site; the only site to encompass a whole country.

  • Italians are allowed to donate 8% of their yearly taxes to the Vatican (this is instead of paying it to the Italian Government)

  • In 2007 the Vatican opted to become the first Carbon neutral state by offsetting their carbon footprint with the creation of a forest in Hungary.

  • The Vatican stamps is own coins.  The 1 (Euro) coin which has a portrait of the present Pope is in high demand with Collectors.

  • The Vatican museums are over 9 miles long, and it is said that if you spent only 1 minute admiring each painting it would take you 4 years to complete the circuit.

  • Established in 1506 by Pope Julius II the Pontifical Swiss Guard were originally employed as personal bodyguards to the Pope, at present they serve as the military force of the Vatican.

  • The Pope is an elected non-hereditary monarch and has complete judicial, executive and legislative control over the Vatican State – which means he is at present the only absolute monarch in Europe.

  • The balcony upon which the Newly elected Pope stands is called “Loggia of the Benediction”, it is from here that many millions around the world hear the first blessing “Urbi et Orbi”, to the city and the world.

  • Is it true that some Popes have fathered children?  yes, many, too numerous to mention here.  Pope Innocence VIII had eight!  It is also rumored that Christopher Columbus was the son of the errant Pope.  It’s thanks to Pope Innocence that Columbus received the funding for his trip to the new world.

  • It is documented that after Pope Leo came a Pope Joan.  John Anglicus, born in Mainz, was recorded as being Pope for two years, seven months and four days.  it is claimed that John was in fact female.  John/Joan was taken to Athens by a lover of hers and made to conceal her identity by dressing in men’s clothes.  Joan was an extremely bright scholar and rose quickly in society.  In Rome she rose quickly amongst learned masters and students and soon she was the choice of everyone for Pope.  While Pope she became pregnant by her companion and it is said she gave birth during a procession from St. Peter’s Basilica to the Lateran, in a narrow lane between the Colosseum and St. Clement’s church.  After her identity was discovered she was killed and buried in that same location.

Vatican facts since this event:

  • Popes were carried around in a chair with a hole in the bottom, supposedly to allow cardinals to check for manhood.

  • From 16th century documentation there is evidence of a bust of Johannes VIII, femina ex Anglia among a line of Papal busts in Siena Cathedral.

  • Papal processions stopped using the street in question (Via Vicus Papissa – lady Pope street).

  • There was a statue and shrine on this street of a mother and child, representing the Popess and her infant.  The statue is no longer but the shrine still exits.

  • Legend says that a stone slab marked the spot where Joan gave birth and was buried, however, Pope Pius V had it removed in the late 16th century.

  • To this day an illustration of her labor remains in Saint Peter’s Basilica at the foot of the baldacchini, the main altar.

  • Unlike most of the other Popes, no public illustration or painting exists in the Vatican of Pope Johannes.

I hope you’ve enjoyed these fun facts about The Vatican City, if you ever find yourself going to Italy, this is a must see City.

Happy Travels


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10 Comments on “Strange Things About……Vatican City”

  1. Haus Fay Hotel June 20, 2013 at 12:04 am #

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  3. CosmosChild September 9, 2013 at 7:20 am #

    a man can be a pope and a father and lives on. A woman cant be a pope and the one who became pope and a mother was killed . How religious !

    • Bruce March 30, 2015 at 6:37 am #

      You are 100% correct

  4. GR Business Online March 2, 2014 at 3:29 am #

    I have to thank you for the efforts you have put in writing this blog.
    I really hope to view the same high-grade content from you later on as well.
    In truth, your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my very own site now

  5. marietheresamacdonald April 12, 2014 at 11:47 pm #

    Marvellous ! Thanks a ton 4 this immensely readable blog replete with subtle wit and great info.As an avid Vatican watcher your account is a treat I shall treasure having saved it  for offline reading.

    • scott30483 April 14, 2014 at 6:05 pm #

      Thank you so much for stopping by my Blog. I greatly appreciate it. I will be back in Rome in just 3 weeks and I can not wait.

      Safe Travels


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