Popes in their secular role ruled portions of the Italian peninsula for more than a thousand years until the mid 19th century, when many of the Papal States were seized by the newly united Kingdom of Italy. In 1870, the pope's holdings were further circumscribed when Rome itself was annexed. Disputes between a series of "prisoner" popes and Italy were resolved in 1929 by three Lateran Treaties, which established the independent state of Vatican City and granted Roman Catholicism special status in Italy.
Vatican travel, Italy Tourist Attractions
In 1984, a concordat between the Holy See and Italy modified certain of the earlier treaty provisions, including the primacy of Roman Catholicism as the Italian state religion. Present concerns of the Holy See include religious freedom, international development, the Middle East, terrorism, interreligious dialogue and reconciliation, and the application of church doctrine in an era of rapid change and globalization. About 1 billion people worldwide profess the Catholic faith.
Country (long form):The Holy See (State of the Vatican City)
Capital : Vatican City
Total Area :0.17 sq mi/0.44 sq km
(about 0.7 times the size of The Mall in Washington, DC)
Population :890 (July 2001 est.)
Estimated Population in 2050
Languages :Italian, Latin, French, various
Religions :Roman Catholic
There seem to be a confusion between the Vatican City State, the minuscule state that exists only since 1929, and the Holy See (of Rome), which is the entity which is active in all international relationships except those of a clearly territorial nature, such as membership of UPU (Universal Postal Union), INTELSAT, CEPT and UNIDROIT (International Institute for the Unification of Private Law).Easter Island
No government would have much interest in relations with so tiny a state as Vatican tourism City. But 172 states maintain diplomatic relations with the Holy See, and half of those that have accredited their ambassador to the Holy See find it worthwhile to have him or her resident in Rome, distinct from their ambassador to the Italian Republic.
The flag of the Vatican City State is as on your webpage, showing the arms with the silver key in the dexter position. When what is represented is the Holy See, not Vatican travel City State, the keys are reversed. Rather, when the state was set up in 1929, the keys in the arms of the Holy See, with the gold one in dexter position, were reversed to provide a distinctive symbol for the new entity. In the personal arms of the popes, the keys are, of course, arranged as in the arms of the Holy See: the other arrangement would be equivalent to treating him as merely the head of that little state.