Vatican achieved its independence from Italy in 1929. While Vatican City had been separate from Rome for centuries, documents signed this day in 1929 made the Vatican a distinct government. According to the CIA World Factbook, the Vatican is about 0.7 times the size of the National Mall in Washington, DC. The smallest country in the world, the Vatican is home to around 850 people. More than four million people visit the Vatican each year.
Michelangelo’s Pietá was damaged in 1972 in Saint Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City when Lazlo Toth, a geologist, attacked the sculpture. Michelangelo completed the sculpture around 1498 to 1499, and it is the only sculpture that bears his signature. The damage was repaired.