February 11th marked the 80th anniversary of the founding of the Vatican City State and, on that same day, a new exhibit opened to commemorate the event. Coordinator, Dr. Barbara Jatta explained the need to provide pilgrims with the history of the world's smallest country.
"The tourists that are coming to Rome and to the Vatican do not know that the Vatican was not built in the 16th century or in the Baroque time with Bernini's fantastic colonnades, but was mostly built in the 30s of the 20th century."
Artifacts, documents, and never-before seen photographs chronicle the Vatican's history going back to 1870, when the Holy See was forced to relinquish its expansive Papal States to Italy. Much of the exhibit focuses on Pope Pius XI, whose pontificate coincided with the signing of the Lateran Treaty that established the Vatican City State.
"The original treaty and concordat that is generally kept in the Vatican Secret Archives is now today shown for the first time in this exhibition."
Visitors can also learn about the construction of the Vatican's many institutions, such as its postal service, radio station, and museums. Entitled "1929-2009: Eighty Years of the Vatican City State," the exhibition runs until May 10th in the Braccio di Carlo Magno in St. Peter's Square.