Vatican flag


The Vatican is a small state located in Italy, specifically in its capital, Rome. The Vatican is a theocratic state, which means that only religion is responsible for politics and law and order there. Separate and independent state Vatican became on June 7, 1929.

This is what the modern Vatican flag looks like:

Флаг Ватикана
Vatican flag

History of the flag

The official flag of the Vatican came into being at the moment of its official separation from Italy. But as we know the symbol of the country of the Holy See today, it was formed long before 1929. For the first time the Vatican flag as we know it appeared in 1825. At that time, it was a cloth that was the official symbol of the area in Central and Northern Italy headed by the Pope.

The cloth was a modification of the flag of the papal region from 1808 to 1870, and of the flag that the Vatican used on its merchant ships from 1803 to 1825. It was a square cloth divided vertically in half into equal parts. The left side was painted a golden yellow hue, and the right was entirely white, with the coat of arms of the country in the center. The flag was the universally recognized symbol of the Vatican until 1870, when the Papal Region officially ceased to exist.

Флаг Папской области 1808—1870
Flag of the Papal Region 1808-1870

Until the beginning of the twentieth century, the position of the Vatican remained uncertain. In 1929 the Lateran Accords were formally concluded, which helped to create a theocratic state within Italy, with its own heraldic symbols that remain unchanged to this day.

The very first papal flag known to historians appeared in the early twelfth century. At that time it was a red cloth with a large white cross in the middle, crossing the square from one edge to the other.


The Vatican flag differs from the flags of many other states in that it is a perfect square cloth divided into two equal vertical parts. The left half of the cloth, near the staff, has a golden yellow hue. The right half has a white color.

On the right side of the flag of the theocratic state is an image of the Vatican coat of arms. The coat of arms is located at an equal distance from the upper and lower edges of the cloth.

The coat of arms consists of four elements:

  • In the center are two keys crossed at right angles. One of them is depicted with gold paint. The entire perimeter of the key is decorated with silver inlays. The second key is depicted with silver paint. There are also small gold colored inserts around its perimeter;
  • Both keys are tied together by a long red cord, topped with small tassels around the edges;
  • Above the keys and the cord is a papal tiara.

Flag colors

The right side is white (silver) and the left side is yellow (gold).

The combination of gold and silver is another difference between the official flag of the Holy See and the others, as two metals should not be combined in one flag, and no other flag shows such liberties.

Meaning of colors and flag symbol

The colors used on the Vatican flag are a reasonable exception to the rule. Gold and silver hues duplicate the colors of the keys depicted on the cloth. One symbolizes the key to paradise, of which St. Peter is the master. The second symbolizes the key to the capital of the Italian state, Rome.

The red cord symbolizes the union of heavenly and ecclesiastical authority. It was believed that Jesus Christ could decide worldly matters with the help of his earthly vicars, who became the pontiffs.

The papal tiara, both the real one and the one depicted on the Vatican emblem and flag, has always been a symbol of the power of the pope, granted to him from above, that is, by God himself. The Vatican flag and coat of arms depicts the three crowns of this tiara, which symbolize the Holy Trinity and the three statuses of the Roman Church: Rome, the entire Christian world, and spiritual dominion.

The appearance of the papal tiara was not always the same, and took its present form only at the beginning of the fourteenth century.

Despite the fact that officially such a state as the Vatican City only appeared in the early twentieth century, its flag has a much longer history, as does the theocratic country itself. The Holy See covers an area of only 0.44 square kilometers, but is of great importance to the entire Catholic world.

General information about the Vatican

Official language Italian, Latin
Capital The Vatican
Territory 0.44 km2
Population 1000 people
Currency euro
Phone Code +3906698 and +379

Vatican map

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