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Vatican Hill: Map

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Vatican Hill (in Latin, Vaticanus Mons) is the name given, long before the founding of Christianity, to one of the hills on the side of the Tiber opposite the traditional seven hills of Rome. It may have been the site of an Etruscanmarker town called Vaticum.

In the 1st century A.D., the Vatican Hill was outside the city limits and so could feature a circus (the circus of Neromarker) and a cemetery. St. Peter's Basilicamarker is built over this cemetery, the traditional site of St. Peter the Apostle's grave. There was another cemetery nearby, which was opened to the public on 10 October 2006, to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Vatican Museumsmarker.[38423]

The Vatican Hill is not one of the famous seven hills of Romemarker, although it was included within the city limits of Rome during the reign of Pope Leo IV, who, between 848 and 852, expanded the city wallsmarker to protect St. Peter's Basilica and the Vatican. Thus, Vatican Hill has been within the walls and city limits of Rome (until the Lateran Treaties in 1929 it was part the Rione of Borgo) for over 1100 years.

Before the Avignon Papacy (1305–1378), the headquarters of the Holy See were located at the Lateran Palacemarker. After the Avignon Papacy the church administration moved to Vatican Hill and the papal palace was (until 1871) the Quirinal Palacemarker, upon the Quirinal Hillmarker. Since 1929, part of the Vatican Hill is the site of the State of the Vatican Citymarker. However, the cathedral of the Bishop of Rome, the Pope, is not St. Peter's in the Vatican, but Basilica di San Giovanni in Lateranomarker, which is extra-territorially linked, as indicated in the Lateran Pacts signed with the Italian state in 1929, with the Holy See.

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