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Sunday, March 1 at 5 p.m. Discovering Secrets of the Vatican

(Rochester, NY) The Vatican is one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world, yet much remains unknown about the city-state that is separated from Rome only by its bordering walls and travertine pavement. Discovering Secrets of the Vatican, airing Sunday, March 1 at 5 p.m. on WXXI-TV 21 (cable 11) and WXXI-HD (cable 1011 and DT 21.1), provides a rare and revealing look inside the smallest independent state on the globe.

Covering just 110 acres with a population of only 800, the landlocked, sovereign city-state is explored in depth — as details unfold about the private yet renowned city’s government, military, culture, economy, communications, and history.

Discovering Secrets of the Vatican erases many misperceptions about Vatican City, which came into existence in 1929 and is clearly distinct from the central authority of Rome, known as the Holy City, which existed long before. Vatican City is a non-hereditary, elected monarchy ruled by the Bishop of Rome — the pope — but led by a president who oversees the Vatican’s internal governmental affairs.

The program offers an intimate look at life at the Vatican, from the perspectives of the people who live there as well as the Swiss Guard, responsible for ensuring the safety of the pope. A position in the prestigious guard, equivalent to the United States’ secret service branch, is granted only to Swiss-born men.

Discovering Secrets of the Vatican reveals the pope’s private gardens, which adorn the city’s grounds but remain unseen by tourists. Viewers also see how the city meets operating expenses through revenue-driven businesses like museums, a food store, a post office and a publishing company. The program highlights the past and present transportation vehicles of the pope over the years, from coaches to limousines; provides insight into the Vatican’s efforts to preserve and restore paintings, tapestries, buildings and furniture; and reveals the breathtaking sight of Michelangelo’s beautifully restored Sistine Chapel, a project that took more than 15 years to complete.

Discovering Secrets of the Vatican explores areas unseen by tourists, taking viewers beyond the halls to learn of the underground tunnel that once saved the life of a pope and the his guard during a German invasion, and venturing into St. Peter’s tomb.

The program concludes with footage of an ordination ceremony for Roman Catholic priests, underscoring the Vatican’s role as a center of spirituality, forever accessible but unfamiliar in many ways to people around the world.

Web site: None

Pictured: St. Peter's Basilica, one of the most visited tourist destinations in the world.
Photo Credit: None

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