On this day February 11, 1929
To help settle the “Roman Question”, Italy and the Holy See of the Roman Catholic Church agreed to establish the Vatican City as an independent sovereign enclave within Italy.
The Roman Question began when Rome was declared Capital of Italy on March 27, 1861, and ended with the Lateran Pacts between Mussolini’s government and Pope Pius XI. After the capture of Rome on 20 September 1870, the popes considered themselves (in the words of Pope Pius IX) “prisoners in the Vatican”.
After the Lateran Pacts were signed in 1929, the Popes regularly visited parts of Rome outside the Vatican. In particular, they took possession, after their election, of their cathedral, the Basilica of St. John Lateran, situated on the opposite side of the city. They also went to their summer residence at Castel Gandolfo, which has extraterritorial privileges, like an embassy, but is not part of the Vatican City State.