The State of the Vatican City

This volume continues a new series entitled "How They're Governed". Directed by Carlo Fusaro, the series aims to explore the political and institutional culture of different countries in order to understand how they're governed and organised. The entries are written by experts in comparative constitutional law and adopt an interdisciplinary approach. The series is intended for: students and scholars eager to develop their knowledge about a specific country; people who for professional reasons have relationships with foreign countries and need to be familiar with their institutional arrangements; curious travellers; anyone concerned about democracy and its future. Each volume shares the same basic structure: a concise geographical and economic overview; elements of history, especially as regards the development of the constitution; political context since the end of World War II; power distribution (who does what and who decides); acknowledged rights and freedoms and the corresponding safeguards; essential readings and useful websites.

Forty-four hectares (i.e., 100 acres): not much more than a decent golf course. And yet this tiny, trapezoid-shaped land - three-and-a-half times smaller than the Principality of Monaco and one-and-a-half times smaller than the Republic of San Marino - is both renowned and unfamiliar. It is a fundamental site for worship among followers of Roman Catholicism, but also a city within the city of Rome; the core of the legal embodiment of the Church's central government, i.e., the Holy See, but also an enclave surrounded by the Italian state. It was established on June 7, 1929 (when the Lateran Treaty was ratified, after its signing by the Holy See and Italy on February 11), thus putting an end to the so-called "Roman Question" that had poisoned the relationship between the Kingdom of Italy and the Papal State after the breach of Porta Pia in 1870. From the viewpoint of constitutional law, the Vatican is a unique case: just what kind of state is it? What are the ties that bind the Holy See, the Roman Catholic Church, and the Italian state? What legal norms govern its life? What are its distinctive internal configurations of power and institutions? And what are the rights enjoyed by and the duties required of its citizens?

Francesco Clementi teaches Public Law at the University of Perugia.


1. Il contesto geoeconomico
2. Tappe di storia costituzionale
3. Il quadro ordinamentale interno e il rapporto con gli altri Stati
4. L'organizzazione costituzionale dello Stato
5. Gli strumenti giuridici della decisione politica
6. Il sistema giudiziario
7. Diritti e libertà
Cronologia politico-istituzionale
Nota bibliografica
Indice dei nomi
series "Si governano così"
pp. 144, 978-88-15-13151-5
publication year 2009