Journey Through Time: Explore Vatican City History & Timeline

Vatican City is a country of art and culture with a prominent history. 

The history of the Vatican city depicts that the city was unacknowledged as an autonomous state until 11 February 1929, when Mussolini’s three Lateran treaties governed it.

Before the country gained independence in 1929, Vatican City was a part of Rome. 

After independence, the country is ruled by the Pope as its head, maintaining laws and regulations. 

The history and facts of Vatican City are vast and much-debated topics among visitors.

Initially, the Vatican City was intended to remain unoccupied because it was regarded as sacred ground. 

However, the area became more populated after the first church. i.e., Constantine’s Basilica was built over the tomb of St. Peter.

After this, every building was constructed in connection with St. Peter. 

The Popes gradually took over the surrounding areas until the mid-19th century, when the Kingdom of Italy seized the Papal States.

Finally, Italy adopted Catholicism as its official religion in 1984.

History of Vatican timeline

History of Vatican timeline
Image: History.com

1506: The foundation of St. Peter Basilica was laid.

1512: Michelangelo completed his painting on the Sistine Chapel ceiling and was ready for public exhibition for the first time. 

1626: The construction of the largest church in the world, St. Peter Basilica, was completed. 

1929: Pope Pius XI and Italian leader Bonito Benito Mussolini signed the Lateran treaty declaring the Independence of Vatican City, the smallest country in the world.

1934: The Vatican City railway station, in Italian known as, Stazione Città del Vaticano or Stazione Vaticana was first opened. 

1943: During world war II the german army occupied Rome, though the Vatican City was free. The Vatican was also neutral during world war II. 

1950: Holy Year declared by Pope XII.

1984: The Vatican established full diplomatic relations with the United States after 117 years.

Early History of Vatican

The name ‘Vatican” was initially used to refer to Ager Vaticanus during the Roman Republic. 

Ager Vaticanus used to be a marshy plain on the west bank of the river Tiber. 

The area was inhabited until the end of the 1st century AD. 

Emperor Caligula started building a Circus for the charioteers’ in the garden laid by his mother Agrippina “the Elder”. 

This garden was later completed by Nero and was later known as the “Circus of Nero.” 

As per ancient sayings, the Circus of Nero is the place where Saint peter died, and the place became a martyrdom for many Christians.

Vatican City Today

Vatican City Today
Image: Gmariadaniela / pixbay (Canva)

The Vatican city today is one of the most important places related to the history of roman art and culture.

The city holds the seat of the pope and is the world’s smallest sovereign state. 

The city is home to some of the world’s most famous museums and churches including the largest church in the world, St. Peter Basilica. 

Some of the most famous artwork of many renowned artists throughout history can also be seen at the Vatican Museum, the most visited attraction of Vatican City.

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Featured Photo by Mauricio Artieda on Unsplash

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