The Vatican State City is a walled enclave of approximately 110 acres, within the city of Rome and is the smallest sovereign state in the world, by both area and population. It is ruled by the Bishop of Rome – The Pope. Since the return of the Popes from Avignon in 1377, they have generally resided at the Apostolic Palace within what is now the Vatican City. Almost all of the Vatican City’s 839 (as at 2013) citizens either live inside the Vatican’s walls or serve in the Holy See’s diplomatic service in embassies. “Vatican” is derived from the name of an Etruscan settlement, Vatica or Vaticum meaning garden. The Vatican Gardens account for more than half of it’s territory. They were established during the Renaissance and Baroque era and are decorated with fountains and sculptures.
A few interesting facts
Italians are allowed to donate 8% of their yearly taxes to the Vatican (instead of paying it to the Italian Government).
John Anglicus, born in Mainz, was recorded as being pope for two years, seven months and four days. It is is claimed that John was in fact female.
The Vatican’s postal service has been operating since 1929, with it’s own postage stamps and is described as one of the world’s best.
Italy has more UNESCO listings than any other country in the world (51 as at 2014). The Vatican City is the only entire country designated as a UNESCO site.
5 million people visit the Sistine chapel each year. With an entry fee of €16, the Vatican earns an annual revenue of around €80 million a year.
There is no specific cuisine for The Vatican City that I could find, the main food style is that of Rome. In 2014 a cookbook was published featuring the favourite dishes of the last few Popes with some delights from Argentina, Poland and of course Italy. I opted to make the simple but delicious Fettuccine alla Papalina (literally translated ‘Fettuccine to skullcap’). It was created specially for Pope Pius XII, who wore a skullcap.
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 15 minutes
250g fettuccine (ideally fresh) or tagliatelle
110g unsalted butter
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 slices prosciutto, cut in thin strips
3/4 cup cream
1/2 cup pecorrino
In a large pan boil some salted water and cook the fettuccine according to the instructions
Meanwhile melt the butter on a low hear in a deep sided frying pan
Add onion and cook until soft, but not brown
Add prosciutto, stir and cook for a minute or two without browning
In the meantime, in a bowl, lightly beat the eggs with the cream and pecorrino
Toss the drained fettuccine in the pan with onion and prosciutto and mix well for a minute or two
Then turn heat off and pour the eggs, cream and pecorrino mixture into the pan and mix rapidly
Add some black pepper and a little salt
Mix again and serve immediately