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More than just an enclave within the city of Rome, the Vatican is a complex city-state that for many people still conjures up notions of secrecy. The Vatican has always exercised powers of fascination and seduction over us, with its history stretching back nearly twenty centuries, its spirituality, its scandals and its enigmas. As a fantasy world, it has inspired cinematic visions from Federico Fellini’s Roma to Francis Ford Coppola’s The Godfather: Part III and Paolo Sorrentino’s The New Pope. But what is the real Vatican?

With nearly three hundred popes and antipopes, not to mention a fictitious female pope, among these figures there are a few saints and many sinners. To borrow an ancient image, the Vatican is like Noah’s Ark, containing animals of all kinds, both pure and impure. From the Roman Catholic Church’s earliest developments under Emperor Constantine, to the notorious popes who nevertheless cultivated the artistic flowering of the Renaissance, to modern-day pontiffs who must navigate the media and issues of social and political sensitivity, the Vatican has endured through historical upheavals and religious schisms, acquiring an unprecedented level of prestige and carving out a presence for itself on the diplomatic stage.

Illustrated with archival images and dramatic photography, this handcrafted Ultimate Collection volume features insightful texts by renowned journalist Caroline Pigozzi, a specialist in Vatican history, and historian Giovanni Maria Vian, former editor in chief of L’Osservatore Romano newspaper, revealing hidden stories that have unfolded within these labyrinthine corridors.



  • W 15.7 x L 19 x D 3.2 in
  • Handcrafted volume in a velvet clamshell
    case with metal plate tip-on


  • 242 pages
  • 200 illustrations
  • English language