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The Vatican

Rome's State of the Vatican City, or Vatican City State, is the modern-day home of the Catholic Church's popes. It is also the world's smallest independent nation state when it comes to area covered and population. Located on the Vatican hill in northwestern Rome, it rises a few hundred meters west of the Tiber River. It is headed by the Holy See, which is the ecclesiastical seat of the Roman Catholic Church.

Its name was derived from the Latin Mons Vaticanus, or Vatican Hill. Mons Vaticanus as well as the nearby Vatican Fields, where St. Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, and the Apostolic Palace are located, dates back way before Christendom.

Many believe that the location of the city has always been thought of as sacred, even before Christianity arrived in Italy. Constantine's basilica, the first church built in 326, was constructed on the site of St. Peter's burial site, and since then, inhabitants have flocked to the area.

Even though it is elevated, the city enjoys the same climate of Rome: a mild, desirable, Mediterranean climate with few rainy winters during the months of September until mid-may.

The city is home to many magnificent structures that every tourist would love to visit. Among them are St. Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel, The Vatican Library, and the various Vatican Museums that hold some of the world's greatest historical, scientific, and cultural pieces.

Strict dress codes are enforced when visiting this one-of-a-kind city. Most of the residents of the city are male, with the exception of two orders of nuns. There are also Catholic clergymen. The various workers in the Vatican, however, are Italians that live outside the city's walls.

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