Administrations and Central Offices

Direzione ed Uffici Centrali


The Governorate is the group of Departments through which the President, assisted by a Secretary General and a Deputy Secretary General, exercises executive power.

It is divided into Administrations and Central Offices.

There follows a description of the Departments comprising the Governorate and of their specific tasks (having already dealt with the subjects of coins, stamps and license plates).

The Governorate is divided into different Administrations.

-          The State Accounting Administration which oversees general accounting procedures, the keeping of account books, the management of the State treasury and the preparation of budgets and financial statements, as well as audits.

-          The General Services Administration which oversees the following Departments:

                             the Goods Transit Service is responsible for running the State’s customs. It also receives and dispatches goods on behalf of Vatican City State and Departments of the Holy See and is responsible for managing the train station inside Vatican City.

                             The Motorization Service keeps the register of all Vatican vehicles (VVR), issues vehicle registrations and revision documents and drivers’ licences, sees to the purchasing, maintenance and management of vehicles used by the institutions of the Holy See.

                             The Florist is responsible for decorating areas used for liturgical celebrations, ceremonies and audiences presided over by the Pope in the Vatican and in Rome. It also decorates the apartments of the Pope, Cardinals and Prelates of the Holy See, including State offices, preservs and restores the floral patrimony of the Vatican and kees a special inventory thereof.

-          The Security and Civil Defense Services Department manages security and public order, together with the Pontifical Swiss Guard and with related Vatican departments and, when necessary, in conjunction with similar services in Italy and other countries.

          This Department is in charge of:

                      The Gendarme Corps which is responsible for policing the State, including border control, crime prevention and investigation and enforcement of financial and commercial regulations, working in collaboration with the judicial bodies and other competent authorities of the Holy See;

                     The Fire Department which provides emergency assistance and prevention aimed at safeguarding the people and patrimony of Vatican City State, in collaboration with the Technical Services Administration.

-          The Department of Health and Hygiene is responsible for providing health care and medical services to citizens and residents of Vatican City, as well as to employees of the Holy See and of Vatican City State. It runs a 24-hour first-aid station, organizes visits to specialists and coordinates medical tests.

The Vatican Pharmacy is associated with this department, but is independent from it. It is responsible for the buying and selling of pharmaceuticals.

-          The Museums Administration has the task of safeguarding, preserving, restoring and promoting the monuments and artistic collections that are the property of the Holy See and that are managed by Vatican City State. It also supervises its cultural patrimony in accordance with the relevant Vatican legislation.

-          The Vatican Museums are organized into various departments according to the nature of the artworks kept there and the historical era to which they belong. They also run a restoration workshop and an office dedicated to scientific research.

-          The Publications and Reproductions Sales Office works within, and in collaboration with, the Museums. It produces publications for widespread distribution that deal with works on display in the Museums and that reproduce many of the same.

-          The Patrons of the Arts in the Vatican Museums is an organization that supports the Museum’s activities culturally and financially. It has the task of promoting awareness around the world of the artistic patrimony kept in the Vatican Museums and of collecting funds for the preservation and restoration of the same.

-          The Department of Technical Services is responsible for the maintenance of  real estate (territory and buildings) and for the management of technological systems, in collaboration with the Fire Department, when necessary.

     Aside from certain central Services which assist the various activities of the Department, others include:

             the Building Service, which is responsible for the construction, ordinary and extraordinary maintenance of buildings within Vatican City and other buildings with extraterritorial status. The Service also maintains the streets and gardens of Vatican City and is responsible for collecting refuse.

              The Workshop and Systems Service constructs and maintains all water and electrical systems, as well as heating and air conditioning systems inside Vatican City and in extraterritorial areas.

-          The Department of Telecommunications manages postal, telephone and telegraphic services. It includes:

                   the Post and Telegraph Service which manages postal and telegraphic traffic to and from Vatican City.

                    The Telephone Service that installs and manages the Vatican telephone network along with the entire telephone traffic of Vatican City and extraterritorial areas.

-          The Department of Economic Services deals with the buying and selling of  foodstuffs, other products and gasoline within Vatican City which has a State monopoly.

-          The Department of Pontifical Villas maintains and manages the extraterritorial area of Castel Gandolfo, the Pope’s summer residence, together with its buildings and gardens. It also runs the farm which is part of the Villa and is responsible for the sale of its agricultural produce.

The Central Offices, so-called because they answer directly to the President, assisted by the Secretary General and by the Deputy Secretary General, are composed of the following:

-          The Judicial Office which writes up regulations and examines legal questions.

-          The Personnel Office which handles all documentation relating to the personnel of the Governorate, applies decisions taken by the Cardinal President in that regard, oversees the professional training of employees and keeps their administrative records. It also supervises the records of personnel from outside companies working in the Vatican.

-          The Registry and Notary Office keeps a record of births, marriages, deaths, citizenship and residence. It also issues and archives public and private documents.  

-          The Philatelic and Numismatic Office is responsible for the minting of coins and the issuing of stamps, as well as for the sale of these products to collectors. It manages a special Philatelic and Numismatic Museum within the Vatican Museums, which preserves all the coins and stamps issued by the Vatican since 1929, the year Vatican City State was founded.

-          The Computer Systems Office manages the Governorate’s computer network. It also gathers and communicates information relating to Vatican activities.

-          The State Archive is responsible for protocolling and archiving correspondence  relating to the Pontifical Commission, Governorate authorities, and other agencies.

-          The Pilgrim and Tourist Office operates in St Peter’s Square (out of the Braccio di Carlo Magno) and provides information and assistance to tourists and to visitors of Vatican City, in collaboration with other Departments and bodies of the Holy See dedicated to helping pilgrims.

-          The Workers' Security and Health Service (Servizio per la sicurezza e la salute dei lavoratori) regulates compliance with the norms established for the safety of all who work within the territory of the State and within the extraterritorial zones. This Service, as provided for by the Law of 10 December 2007, n. LIV, exists for the benefit of managers, technical personnel, their delegates and workers, and is charged with the prevention and assessment of risks, with oversight of conditions related to health, and with the publishing of statistics regarding accidents. In addition, it is charged with oversight and inspection of permanent and temporary workplaces.

                    Even though its activities are not strictly linked to those of the Governorate, the Vatican Observatory still answers to it. The Observatory has its headquarters at the Pontifical Palace of Castel Gandolfo and is primarily involved in scientific research in the fields of astronomy and astrophysics. It represents one of the Church’s many contributions to the field of research. For several years now, the operational headquarters has been in Tucson, Arizona (USA), where a modern astronomical observatory has been built.  

                    In order to help cover the cost of providing health care for the Holy See’s and Vatican City State’s employees and their families, a social benefit body called the Health Assistance Fund was set up in 1954. This is an independent body which does not answer to the Administrations of the Holy See or of Vatican City.  

            The Pension Fund, set up in 1992, is also independent of Vatican Administrations and oversees the payment of pensions to retired employees.