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Decoding complex aspects of Vatican City hidden under the wraps

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1280px-St_Peter's_Square,_Vatican_City_-_April_2007

By Harshmeet Singh

Vatican City, the world’s smallest and the least populated independent country is a mystery to many people around the world. A walled enclave within the Italian capital, Rome, Vatican City has a population of 842! And among those 842 citizens is the Pope – the leader of Catholic Church. The history of the Vatican is one complex and interesting story!

Papal States

Earlier in the day, most of today’s Italy came under ‘Papal States’ which was ruled by the Popes. During their rule, they also established the St. Peter’s Basilica which was the world’s largest church at that time. This church was constructed in a hilly area, known as Vatican. After the church came up, the Popes decided to build a wall around the church, to protect it from foreign attacks.

In 1870, the Kingdom of Italy captured Rome. After the capture, the erstwhile Pope hid behind the walls of the Vatican, which has since been the capital of the Catholic Church. Italy decided against attacking the Vatican, thinking that it might have religious consequences. Rather, Italy decided to be patient and what for the Pope to come out of the walled Vatican; a wait that didn’t end for 6 decades.

And then entered Benito Mussolini

Worried over Italy’s negative image being propagated worldwide due to Pope’s accusations of ‘imposed imprisonment’, Italy’s then Prime Minister, Benito Mussolini decided to strike a deal (Lateran treaty) with the Pope. According to the deal, Italy would give the Vatican’s land to the Pope along with some financial compensation. In return, the Pope must acknowledge the existence of Italy and remain neutral during any future conflicts or in politics.

With the signing of the deal, the world got a new country, Vatican City. Today, that country has all the aspects of a sovereign nation, including its own laws, king, stamps, etc.

Understanding the Vatican

Apart from the incredibly famous Pope, Vatican City is also home to a King and the Holy See! The throne of the Pope is given the name – Holy See. Apart from the throne, The Holy See is also the name given to the rules of the Catholic Church.

One of the least known aspects about the Vatican is that it is a monarch with absolute power to the King. And surprisingly enough, there are no talks about the King of Vatican City! This is what makes Vatican one of the few countries to use Euro as a currency without being a part of the European Union. Since EU membership is only given to democratic nations, Vatican can’t be a member nation of the EU.

Here comes the most puzzling piece of information – The King of the Vatican is the same person as the Pope! In his capacity as the King, he can overrule any decision of the legislative within the Vatican without giving any reason. It is, in fact, a unique case of an elected leader getting limitless power within a country.

And the confusion goes far beyond

Vatican City, despite being recognized as a nation, isn’t a member of the United Nations. In fact, it is The Holy See that holds a permanent observer status in the UN, but without any voting rights. Confused? There are still some more weird facts to go! There are no female citizens in the Vatican, meaning that no one is born a Vatican citizen. The only way to gain the membership of Vatican City is to be granted the same by the King. And the King only grants membership to those who serve the Holy See. In short, only the servants of the Pope get to be the citizens of Vatican City. The citizenship ends as soon as the person resigns from the job.

According to the Lateran treaty signed between Mussolini and the Pope, if a person loses his citizenship of Vatican City and isn’t a citizen of any other nation, he would be automatically recognized as an Italian citizen.

Due to its extremely small size (44 hectares), Vatican City is one of the few countries in the world that doesn’t house any foreign embassies. The embassies to the Holy See are located in Rome.

With many more such complex aspects of Vatican City hidden under the wraps, the country remains an enigma for the outer world. But perhaps what is more important is to understand the faith and belief that billions of Catholic around the world have in this tiny nation and everything that it engulfs.

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Here are 4 Travel Destinations for Couples

Honeymoon destination worth considering

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Couples
Here are some travel destinations for couples seeking a romantic holiday. Pixabay

One can pick from a wide array of idyllic locales such as Greece, Switzerland, South Africa, and Italy. But how do you choose whether you want to snuggle up in front of a fire and relax to the sound of the tides on a hammock? Heres is a list of this seasons handpicked hotels for the discerning traveller. Couples seeking the ultimate romantic holiday can choose from a range of experiences and settings such as – hidden getaways, wellness retreats, culinary sojourns and adventure in the wilderness.

1. The SECLUDED RETREAT

Myconian Villa Collection, Greece

Nestled into the hillside above Elia Bay, the Mykonian ?Villa Collection is a unique luxury? resort? ?concept. ?This tranquil island escape offers impeccable service with quintessential Greek decor accented by bespoke wood-crafted furnishing and vibrant fabrics. The essence of Myconian beauty and lifestyle runs like a blue thread through a constellation of exceptionally spacious suites and rooms, while superb villas offer the discreet yet boundless opulence of a private house in Mykonos. Leaning into the mountain, the terraced villas have uninterrupted views of the Aegean Sea, culminating in a 360-degree panorama on the vast entertainment deck with its plush bar, epicurean restaurant and saltwater infinity pool.

Travellers can choose the luxurious privacy of the Lover’s Suite where special services such as in-room evening meals, couples’ massages on the scenic deck, and other such intimate indulgences can be experienced. This Cycladic Island combines a romantic ambience for newlyweds with sandy beaches, turquoise waters and a world-class nightlife scene for evenings that take guests into the morning hours.

Guests can book a longer stay for 3 nights or more, and save up to 30% on the Best Available Rates at this member hotel with the �Stay More Save More Offer’ from Preferred Hotels & Resorts. This offer is valid for bookings made from now till December 31, 2019; for stays through March 31, 2020.

Greece couples
A holiday in Greece provides secluded retreat to couples. Pixabay

2. The WELLNESS GETAWAY

The Capra, Switzerland

An intimate, alpine luxury spa lodge in a spectacular natural setting. The Capra is a car-free Swiss ski resort, also a favourite among winter sports connoisseurs. There is guaranteed high-quality snow, and authentic charm – combining the cosiness of a chalet with the comforts of a luxury hotel. Expansive suites in warm earthy tones have panoramic views of snow-frosted peaks, pristine valleys, and wide-open skies where guests can relax, recharge and reconnect with nature. The fire-lit lounge, well-appointed library, and deluxe spa are designed to soothe the senses. Even more indulgent is the wholesome farm-to-table cuisine offered at the hotel.

The Spa at the resort is run and managed by Peak Health. Their goal is not only to help guests to unwind, but to develop personal strategies and holistic approach to resetting health based on the latest scientific research by a team of wellness experts from around the globe. The Spa offers a fully immersive retreat programme that helps guests transform their lifestyle, it also consists of indoor and outdoor hydrotherapy pools, salt-therapy rooms, saunas, fully equipped gym, yoga studio, and a varied selection of intensive treatments for the mind and body.

3. ADVENTURE ESCAPE

Gondwana Game Reserve, South Africa

Less than a four-hour drive from Cape Town International Airport, along South Africa’s scenic Garden Route, the 11,000-hectare Private Game Park offers a distinctive and luxurious safari destination with free-roaming Big 5 safari animals (lion, buffalo, elephant, rhino, and leopard). Gondwana Game Reserve is known for its well-appointed safari lodge accommodation, awe-inspiring views, attentive service, exquisite South African cuisine, and an array of adventure-linked activities including game drives, birdwatching, fynbos walks, mountain biking, hiking trails and more. Luxury accommodation is offered in Kwena Lodge, a modern twist on the traditional Khoi-San dwelling. The 14 open-plan suites are nestled into the breath-taking natural surroundings with 180-degree views, skylights for star gazing, fireplaces and deep baths.

Gondwana Game Reserve is an ideal African honeymoon destination for adventure enthusiasts. It is a picture-perfect retreat where guests can create lasting memories on their romantic vacation, from immersing themselves in the spectacular scenery, enjoying private dining experiences, to the reinvigorating Africology massages at the spa and more.

Italy couples
Italy is a very romantic travel place for couples. Pixabay

4. CULINARY SOJOURNS

Il Castelfalfi, Italy

Nestled amid the sun-kissed Tuscan hills, surrounded by vineyards, centuries-old olive trees and period farmhouses, Il Castelfalfi is the perfect getaway to plan a romantic escape. Sample traditional ingredients and flavours with a cooking class at Rosso Toscano Cooking school and visit the local vineyards to discover the favourite wines. Once set in a village, the grounds now surrounding the resort are filled with charming shops and restaurants sure to transport travellers to a different era.

At the gourmet restaurant – La Rocca di Castelfalfi, top chef Michele Rinaldi reinterprets traditional cuisine for guests to savour. Located within the medieval castle brought back to life after a meticulous restoration, the restaurant is a landmark in the village, where guests enjoy the authentic taste of

Also Read- Top 5 Tourist Places in South Korea’s Incheon

The above-listed hotels are members of Preferred Hotels & Resorts – Legend Collection. Guests can book a longer stay for 3 nights or more, and save up to 30% on the Best Available Rates at this member hotel with the �Stay More Save More Offer’ from Preferred Hotels & Resorts. This offer is valid for bookings made from now till December 31, 2019; for stays through March 31, 2020. (IANS)