Dating in Vatican City (Holy See)

The Vatican, famously known as the world’s smallest independent state, is steeped in rich history, with more pontiffs than princes, and more cardinals than romantic dinner dates. It’s a land where “Papa” has an entirely different meaning, and where being in a “committed relationship” often involves taking a vow of celibacy. Sure, romantic candlelight dinners in the Vatican aren’t typical, but there’s something undeniably romantic about the way the Sistine Chapel is lit at dusk.

Now, if you’re looking to date in the Vatican, your options may be a tad limited, unless you are attracted to men in robes. You see, this is a place where swiping right might get you a discussion about the right-hand rule of cross products rather than a romantic rendezvous. Still, if you’re hoping for a chance of love, you might find yourself infatuated with the incredible art and architecture that have their tales of passion and devotion. After all, who needs the allure of dating when you’ve got the timeless romance of Michelangelo’s Pieta? In the Vatican, it’s less about “Netflix and Chill,” and more about “Mass and Chill.” And remember, if you’re trying to impress a date with your sense of fashion, nothing screams “I’ve got style” quite like a large, ornate mitre!

Jokes aside, the Vatican doesn’t really have a dating culture per se. The Swiss Guard can marry though. The Vatican does however attract millions of tourists per year, so it is possible to meet that special someone visiting the Vatican. Those visitors both Catholics and secular have the opportunity to meet fellow travelers.

St. Peter’s Basilica Vatican City

As we hope you will find in this article, social life in Vatican City is a fascinating subject, reflecting the diversity of cultures, traditions, and societal norms on the European continent. As society evolves and intercultural interactions increase, these customs continue to intermingle and evolve, creating a dynamic and intriguing Vatican dating scene.

Interesting facts about social life in Vatican City

  1. Populous Yet Secluded: The Vatican may be the world’s smallest independent state by both area and population, but it has a global impact far beyond its physical size. This enclave of only around 800 people is actually home to one of the most important religious figures in the world – the Pope.
  2. Cardinal Residency: Most of the Vatican’s population comprises of priests, cardinals, and members of the Swiss Guard. Cardinals who reside in the Vatican are assigned a church in Rome, which they technically “pastor,” although their Vatican duties prevent them from full-time parish work.
  3. Swiss Guard Life: The Swiss Guard, recognized for their brightly colored Renaissance-era uniforms, have an integral social life within the Vatican. They provide the Pope’s security and live within the Vatican during their service. The camaraderie among the guards is an important part of life in the Vatican.
  4. The Vatican Library: Social life at the Vatican also includes scholarly pursuits. The Vatican Library is one of the oldest libraries in the world and is a central hub of social and academic life in the city-state, with scholars from around the world coming to study its vast collection of texts.
  5. Foreign Languages: The official language of the Vatican is Latin, and it’s used in official documents. But the lingua franca within the walls tends to be Italian, given its location. However, with visitors, clergy, and scholars from all over the world, one could hear many languages spoken on any given day.
  6. Vatican Radio: The Vatican Radio station broadcasts in 47 languages, making it an essential means of social communication within the Vatican. Established by Guglielmo Marconi himself, it helps connect the Vatican to the wider world.
  7. Art Appreciation: Art and culture play a significant role in social life within the Vatican. With some of the world’s most famous artworks, like the frescoes in the Sistine Chapel, residents and visitors alike take time to appreciate these masterpieces, making art discussions a central part of social life.
  8. Rooftop Socializing: The Vatican supermarket and department store provide the everyday necessities for those living within the Vatican. The store’s rooftop has been transformed into a social meeting spot where residents often gather, enjoy views of St. Peter’s Basilica, and exchange conversations over lunch or coffee.
  9. A Greener Vatican: Interestingly, the Vatican is the only country in the world to be carbon-neutral, and sustainability is a frequent topic of social discussions, highlighting the city-state’s commitment to environmental stewardship.
  10. Astronomy Enthusiasts: The Vatican has its own observatory and even owns a telescope in Arizona, USA. It’s a point of pride among Vatican residents and a common topic of interest and discussion, making stargazing more than just a casual pastime in this unique country.

Most important day in Vatican City

The most important holiday in the Vatican is arguably Easter, which is celebrated with several events throughout Holy Week leading up to Easter Sunday. The week’s events include the Palm Sunday mass, the Chrism Mass on Holy Thursday, the Good Friday Passion of the Lord and Stations of the Cross, and the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday. The Pope delivers the “Urbi et Orbi” (To the City and to the World) message and blessing on Easter Sunday, which is watched by millions of Catholics worldwide. The importance of this holiday reflects the centrality of the resurrection of Jesus Christ in Christian belief.

As multiculturalism is extremely common in the Vatican due to priests coming from around the world, foreigners living in Vatican City may share their culture with Vatican residents as well. In this case, other traditionally non-European holidays may be celebrated also.

Common social activities of Vatican residents

The population primarily consists of clergy (including the Pope), Swiss Guards, and church and lay workers. At various times throughout the week they have social activities such as:

  1. Church Services: Given the religious nature of the Vatican, attending church services, including daily Mass, is a common activity.
  2. Choir Practice: The Vatican has a number of choirs, and being a part of these and attending practices is a significant social activity for some residents.
  3. Museum and Library Work: Many residents work in the Vatican Library and Vatican Museums, which house vast collections of art, historical documents, and books. They also interact with tourists and scholars who visit these places.
  4. Community Meals: In many cases, meals are communal events, taken with others who live and work in the Vatican.
  5. Garden Walks: The Vatican Gardens offer a tranquil space for walking, contemplation, and conversation.
  6. Swiss Guard Activities: The Swiss Guard, who serve as the Vatican’s military force, have regular drills and training exercises.
  7. Reception of Guests: The Vatican often hosts religious, political, and academic figures from around the world. Many residents are involved in these visits in some capacity.
  8. Papal Activities: Many residents assist with or attend the Pope’s public audiences, blessings, and other events.

Dating etiquette

Dating etiquette in the Vatican is a serious business. If you are going to be dating in the Vatican there are procedures… procedures that deal with handling historical documentation that is.

The Vatican Apostolic Library, also known as the Vatican Library, is one of the oldest libraries in the world and contains a vast and significant collection of historical texts. These range from manuscripts and incunabula (books printed before 1501) to more modern publications and documents. Here’s a simplified overview of how these documents might be managed and dated:

  1. Acquisition: The library acquires documents through various means such as donations, purchases, or bequests. These documents could be anything from books and maps to manuscripts and letters.
  2. Cataloging and Classification: Once a document is acquired, it is cataloged and classified. This process involves recording details about the document such as its origin, author, date of creation, and physical characteristics. The Vatican Library uses specific classification systems to organize its vast collections.
  3. Dating: Dating the document can be a complex process. It may be based on the document’s content, its physical characteristics, or through scientific methods. The content might include a date written by the author or references to historical events that can help estimate a time period. The physical characteristics, such as the type of paper or ink used, can also provide clues. If necessary, scientific methods such as radiocarbon dating could be employed, though this is more typical in an archaeological context than a library one.
  4. Preservation and Conservation: Once cataloged, the document undergoes any necessary preservation or conservation efforts. This could include repairing damage, stabilizing the document for long-term storage, and digitizing the document for easier access and to further preserve the original.
  5. Storage: The document is then stored in appropriate conditions to preserve it. This usually means a climate-controlled environment that protects it from damage due to factors like temperature, humidity, light, and pests.
  6. Access: Finally, the document becomes part of the library’s collection and may be made accessible to researchers. The Vatican Library has strict rules about who can access the materials, generally limiting it to scholars who have a legitimate research need.

Remember that the specifics can vary depending on the document and the circumstances, and this is a simplified overview of a complex process that requires expert knowledge and skill. Additionally, the Vatican Secret Archives (now known as the Vatican Apostolic Archives), while separate from the Vatican Library, also has a vast collection of documents and likely follows similar procedures. As of my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, Pope Francis announced that the archives relating to Pope Pius XII’s pontificate (1939-1958) would be opened to scholars, which is a recent example of these processes in action.

The importance of language

The Vatican is officially the only country in the world with a dead language as its official language. However, for practical purposes Vatican residents typically communicate in Italian or sometimes English depending on where they come from. Since the Vatican is located inside of Italy, Italian is the most practical language.

Learning Latin is interesting as there are no real countries who can speak it. Further, no one knows exactly what you are supposed to sound like since there are no native speakers of the language left from historical times. That being said, learning a little Latin before visiting the Vatican can be interesting as you will be able to appreciate more of the history.

Is the Vatican gay friendly?

When it comes to gay friendliness and LGBTQ+ tolerance, Europe tends to lead the world, with Scandinavia among the most supportive1.

As the Vatican is the center of the Catholic religion the approach to gay friendliness is complicated. For visitors of course, there is no problem. They can enjoy the sites at the Vatican.

In general, the official stance of the Roman Catholic Church, and thus the Vatican, is that marriage is a sacrament intended to be between a man and a woman. Therefore, the church does not support gay marriage.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church, the official summary of its teachings, states that homosexual acts are “intrinsically disordered” and “contrary to the natural law,” although it also states that individuals who experience homosexual tendencies “must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity.”

In March 2021, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a department of the Roman Curia in the Vatican responsible for protecting Catholic doctrine, issued a statement that the Church cannot bless same-sex unions because God “does not and cannot bless sin.”

Pope Francis, the head of the Catholic Church and the Vatican City State, has made statements that appear more accepting of individuals who are gay compared to previous Church teachings, expressing that they should be loved and not marginalized. However, he has also affirmed the Church’s traditional stance on marriage.

Though there have been plenty of scandals in past years, we don’t expect much usage of gay dating apps in Vatican City. Organizations like ILGA are great for continuing to track the official stance and evolution of the Catholic Churches stance on gay marriage, but we don’t expect much change as it is based on the doctrine.

Online dating in the Vatican City

With the exception of the daily tourists, there is effectively zero online dating industry in the Vatican. Having a population of only around 825 permanent residents5, there wouldn’t be much of one even if the Vatican weren’t a religious center.


5 Population by country: