In ancient times, the Vatican was the name on
a sank of land east of the Tiber River
in Rome. The name was also used on the Vatican hill on
the western shore of the Tiber, where the Vatican State is today.
In Emperor Nero's time there was a circus for
gladiatorial games near the Vatican Hill, where St.
Peter's Square and St. Peter's Church are now located.
There, according to tradition, the apostle Peter in 67
must have suffered martyrdom and been buried. Emperor
Constantine, who acknowledged Christianity in the Roman
Empire, had in the 300s erected a basilica (church
building) over Peter's tomb.
An urban settlement grew up around the Basilica of
St. Peter and was surrounded in the 800's with the
so-called Leononian wall. At the end of the 13th century
and the beginning of the 13th century, the first
buildings were erected in the complex that would form
the Vatican Palace.
Comprehensive guide to and popular abbreviations of Vatican, covering history, economy, and social conditions.
From the 300s and around 1,000 years on, the popes
lived mainly in the Lateran Palace in southern Rome.
After the so-called Avignon Pope in the 1300s, Pope
Gregory XI made the Vatican Palace a papal residence in
At the end of the 15th century, the Sistine Chapel
was erected and at the end of the 16th century the
property which was now the pope's residence was built.
The ancient Christian Basilica of Basilica was abandoned
in the 16th century for the building of St. Peter's
Church under the leadership of, among others, artist
Michelangelo. The church was inaugurated in 1626.
Until 1870, large parts of present-day central Italy
were ruled by the Church Council with the Pope as head
of state. The church cost was invaded in 1807, when the
French emperor Napoleon occupied most of the Italian
peninsula. After the Vienna Congress in 1815, the Church
Cost was restored.
When Italy united in 1861 (see Italy, Ancient
History), the new rulers demanded that the church give
up its worldly powers. According to a referendum in
1870, the Church cost was to be incorporated into the
Kingdom of Italy. The church refused, and the pope
confined itself in a small area around St. Peter's
Basilica and the Vatican Palace. Instead of recognizing
the new Italian state, the church banned its monarch and
banned its members from holding public office in Italy
and voting in general elections there.
The conflict between the Vatican and Italy, the
so-called Roman issue, was only resolved after six
decades through the so-called Lateran treaties between
the Pope and Mussolini's fascist regime in 1929. In the
first treaty, the Vatican was established as a sovereign
state, while the pope in return recognized the Italian
state. The Vatican gave up all the demands for past
possessions in Italy and received financial compensation
for church properties that were transferred to the
Italian state. In addition, a so-called concord
(religious agreement) was concluded, which gave
Catholicism a position as state religion in Italy. The
Holy See also gained ownership of a number of churches
and palaces in Rome and elsewhere in Italy.