Vatican City vs. Rome: Italian Treasures!

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Difference between Vatican City and Rome

Rome, the capital of Italy, houses the independent city-state of Vatican City. While the former is important in terms of its diplomatic and legislative position within the country, the latter is unique because of its identity as a non-hereditary monarchy. In terms of religion, Rome carries the heritage of a heterogeneous religious history, whereas the genesis of Vatican City has been fueled by the forces of Catholicism. Thus, Vatican City does not conduct any diplomatic missions. They are the responsibility of the Holy See. Rome, on the other hand, is the epicenter of most diplomatic activities with several international bodies.

Vatican City

Variation in Statistics

In terms of basic statistics, while Rome is the largest Italian city boasting of a 1,285.3 km square area, Vatican City is marked for its tiny size with a 1.05 km length and a 0.85 km width. Demographically, Rome leads as the most populated city of Italy with approximately a 2.7 million residents while Vatican City had approximately 826 residents in the year 2009.

Religion and Politics

The religious and political histories of the two states are interlinked. With Rome as the capital of Italy, Popes of Roman Catholic Church felt threatened by the Italian king’s position. The Roman Question arose in the period 1861 to 1929, resulting in a tussle between the Papacy and government of Italy. The tension was resolved in1929 when Mussolini forged the Lateran Pacts with Pope Pius XI. This led to the inception of the Vatican City.

Since Vatican City was established with the primary objective of providing absolute freedom to the Holy See, it is imperative that the Pope becomes the sovereign of the state of the Vatican City, acting as the ex-officio ruler. In Rome however, while the local administration is run by a mayor and a city council, the national government constitutes the office of the government of Italy.

In matters of religion, actual citizens of Vatican City are Catholic. Rome, however, has a heterogeneous religious community.

Citizenship and Employment

The Vatican City delegates citizenship to people not in terms of birth or other factors, but solely based on one’s recruitment to the offices of the Holy See. Citizenship stands cancelled in the event of the person’s removal from that office. In terms of employment, citizens typically opt for the clergy, the state official machinery and the Swiss Guard. In comparison, Rome’s citizens are engaged in various professions.


  • In terms of demographics there is no comparison between Rome and the Vatican City – one is the capital and the most populous city of Italy whilst the other is minuscule in comparison
  • Being the capital, Rome is a heterogeneous hub of religious beliefs, whilst Vatican City is strictly Catholic
  • Citizenship in Rome is determined by standard criteria, whilst people in the Vatican City enjoy citizenship by virtue of their employment at the offices of the Holy See
  • Thus, the Vatican City exists as a commune within Rome


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