Who lives in the Vatican Palace?

The Vatican Palace, also known as the Apostolic Palace, is one of the most stunning structures of the Vatican City. Its beauty both inside and out is carefully detailed, offering a truly spectacular sight to tourists who visit it. But what is the purpose of this palace? Who lives within its walls?

Vatican Palace, Italy

It’s residents

The Vatican Palace in the Vatican City is the official residence of the Pope of the Catholic Church. Although, it is not only the Pope who resides there, officials and other members working within its walls serve a number of jobs relating to the church. Serving both religious and administrative functions of the Vatican.

It’s construction

Before they built the Vatican Palace, the main residence for Popes was at the Lateran Palace. It wasn’t until the fifth century when Pope Symmachus commissioned two new buildings close to the Old St. Peter’s Basilica that it changed. They commissioned more buildings over the years, reconstructing the Vatican from its crumbling ruins to the stunning structure we know today. Finally, Pope Nicholas III demolished an ancient fortified palace to erect a new building which we know today as the Apostolic Palace. The Popes officially started moving into the palace in the 14th century, remaining there to this day. However, the Pope doesn’t live here all the time, as they spend their time within the Castel Gandolfo Papal Palace during the summer.

What is a Pope?

Pope in the Vatican Palace

The Pope is one of the most famous religious people in the entire world. Also named as the Bishop of Rome, he is the head of the entire Catholic Church. The word ‘Pope’ comes from the Greek word ‘Pappas’, which translates to father. The Pope is specially chosen from the College of Cardinals, who are all official Vatican leaders devoted to the church. Once a new Pope is chosen, they will burn the voting ballots with chemicals to produce white smoke, which signals to all of Rome that a new Pope will reign. In ancient times, the Pope would rule until they died, but nowadays Popes can retire when they’re ready.

What is the Pope in control of?

The Pope has both political and religious duties involving the Catholic Church. Popes have been leaders of the religion for centuries, starting with the Papal States, which was once in control of modern-day Italy. Once the Kingdom of Italy took control, the Pope went to hide within the Vatican walls, refusing to acknowledge Italy as a country. Instead of invading Vatican City, the Kingdom of Italy decided to wait it out until the Pope eventually cracked. This stubborn argument lasted sixty years, with multiple Popes accepting this self-imposed captivity. Finally, in 1929, the Prime Minister of Italy proposed an agreement granting Vatican City its own country led by the Pope. Therefore nowadays the Pope leads not just the Catholic Church, but the entire city of Vatican City. Travelling both within the city and throughout the world to spread the word of God and to connect Vatican City with their associates.

How Popes are Chosen

When the time comes for the current Pope to resign or die, a new Pope must be chosen to take his place. First of all, the responsibilities of the Pope’s tasks will fall to the College of Cardinals until a new Pope is chosen. As well as doing this, they are in charge of the Pope election, with each cardinal voting anonymously until one member of the group receives two-thirds of the vote to be Pope. Once chosen, they will choose the person’s papal name, and present him to the public, dressed in papal vestments out on the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica. The end of the voting will be the burning of the ballots with chemicals to produce a cloud of white smoke, which is set off in the city to signal to Vatican City citizens the end of the election.

What is the Palace?

The Vatican Palace, as the name suggests, is massive. Home to a series of apartments, museums, offices, public and private chapels, an observatory, and numerous libraries. It also contains iconic rooms such as Raphael’s rooms and even the Sistine Chapel. It is not just the Pope that resides here, with officials and other members working within its walls to serve a number of jobs relating to the church. It serves both religious and administrative functions of the Vatican. However, the Pope doesn’t spend all his time here, as they spend their time within the Castel Gandolfo Papal Palace during the summer.

How to see Vatican Palace

The Vatican Palace is not just one, but many buildings and museums to choose from, so you have a range of sites to see both inside and out. There are numerous tours going ahead every day, letting you step inside some of the Palace’s stunning rooms while your guide enlightens you to each room’s purposes and details.

How to see the Pope

Even if you do get to see the inside of Vatican City, you won’t find the Pope lounging about on the couch or tucking into his lunch. The Pope’s quarters are strictly restricted from visitors but don’t let this stop you. After visiting parts of the Palace, you can see the Pope on one of his many public appearances. With waving drives through the city to frequent general audiences, or special rituals for religious holidays. If you are travelling at the right time, make sure to join the large crowd of locals and tourists, or to book a seat in advance for the service. It’s a wonderous occasion that brings people from all corners of the world together!

Related article: What government does Vatican city have?

Language »