Vatican, RomeIt’s the rare visitor to Rome who doesn’t make his or her way to the Vatican. Visiting St. Peter’s and the Vatican Museum are highlights of any visit to the Eternal City. As most visitors know, Vatican City is actually its own state, separate from Italy, with its own Head of State – the Pope.

Vatican City also mints its own coins (it is within the euro zone), maintains its own postal service (since 1929) and issues its own postage stamps.

On your next visit to the Vatican, stop by at the post office (just next to the Visitor’s office, to the left of the main entrance to Saint Peter’s) to see the special issues of stamps and to mail your postcards, cancelled by the Vatican City postal service.

Vatican stampsOne of my children collects stamps, and I have other friends who collect cancelled Vatican stamps, so I’m often passing through the Vatican post office to purchase postage stamps or mail out letters.

It’s fun to see tourists from all over writing post cards, affixing their Vatican stamps and sending them off to all corners of the world.

With the rich collection of art at the Vatican – and within the Catholic church – the Vatican-issued stamps can be quite striking, including recently issued stamps from works by Caravaggio and Botticelli.

Vatican stampsFor serious collectors, there’s even a helpful on-line catalogue of issues from 1929 to the present.

So on your next visit to Rome and to the Vatican, be sure to stop by at the Vatican post office to buy postage stamps or mail out your postcards. Your stamp collecting friends will thank you and you couldn’t find presents easier to pack than these.