5 Priceless Things In The Vatican’s Secret Rooms
If you have the fortune to travel to (or live in) Italy, there’s likely a special spot on your must-see list for Vatican City. Vatican City is a city-state surrounded by Rome, Italy and serves as the official headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church. It’s only 109 acres long but there are so many priceless artifacts, legendary pieces of art, and rumored (and if true, incredible) secrets packed into this relatively small piece of land.
Founded in 1929, Vatican City is home to over 800 people, but don’t plan on moving there any time soon. The only residents allowed to live in Vatican City are clergy people, Swiss guards, and of course, the Pope. The residents are likely the few only people in the world who truly know the answers surrounding the secret rumors about Vatican City. And as residents, they are likely the only people in the world who have the privilege of being able to enjoy the abundance of priceless items in the secret rooms of Vatican City. Here, we explore five of priceless things that sit safely tucked away in the secret rooms of the Vatican.
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5 Ancient Coins
Being its very own city-state, the Vatican issues its own coins and currency but hidden deep within Saint Peter’s Basilica, is a lengthy secret room that only those with an approved letter, background screening, and a special code may enter. And in that especially secure room is a collection of not antique, not vintage but truly ancient coins. These coins tell stories of life that occurred on Earth centuries upon centuries ago. They are a coin-collector’s absolute dream come true but very few people have ever laid eyes on them.
4 80,000 Handwritten Manuscripts
The Vatican Library is a history-lover’s dream. Part of the amazing collection includes 80,000 handwritten manuscripts from several lifetimes ago. Some of these manuscripts date back to over 2,000 years ago. An example of one of these handwritten manuscripts includes an intricately handmade bible. The bible was commissioned by the Duke of Urbino, Federico da Montefeltro, in 1476 and contains pages of actual gold worked into the delicately handwritten font.
3 2 Million Printed Books
While the handwritten manuscripts are an amazing addition to the collection of the Vatican library, there are also more modern pieces and several of them. Even though the printed books may be more recent additions, it’s not as if any resident of Vatican City can check out one of these printed books as you would at a public library. In fact, there are rules set in place that the contents of the Vatican Library may only be available for public viewing (and selective public viewing, at that) when they are at a minimum of 75 years old. Of course, there is one exception to that rule and that is that the Pope may look at any of the contents whenever he likes. He is, after all, the ruler of Vatican City. It’s said this very special library contains books that are written in every language known to mankind.
2 70,000 Pieces Of Art
We all know that the Sistine Chapel within Vatican City contains one of the most precious and well-known works of art on its fabled ceiling, painstakingly and masterfully painted by Michelangelo over a period of 4 years starting in 1508. But within the Apostolic Archive (a secret room in Vatican City), 70,000 pieces of priceless works of art are safely stowed. Like the books and handwritten manuscripts, only the Pope is allowed to view or borrow the artwork at his own discretion. The rest of us can only imagine what kinds of inspiring art lies hidden away in the secret rooms.
1 Henry VIII’s Love Letters To Anne Boleyn
When you think of priceless items stashed in the secret rooms of Vatican City, it’s fair to think of the items mentioned above and we wouldn’t fault you if “love letters” didn’t leap into your thoughts. However, it’s true that the late King of England’s passionate (and from what we’re told, somewhat steamy) love letters to his second wife reside in a secret room in Vatican City. Henry wrote of his “great loneliness” for Anne, referenced her body parts with nicknames, and signed his name with a heart. The strangest part about these love letters is that there is no concrete evidence of how they ended up in Vatican City. Romance and mystery, all in one!
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Sources: CBS News, History.com, Vatican.com, Britannica.com
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