Housed in the middle of Vatican City, these important documents contain state papers, ancient account books, and correspondences from key historical figures. You might be thinking how you could get access to this information overload space? Well, only Qualified individuals from scholarly institutions may apply for an entry card, but there has to be a legitimate reason to be entering.
The use of the word “secret” in this case is more akin to the word ‘private’ rather than ‘hidden.’ Still, good luck trying to enter these premises. There are 53 miles of shelving which contain around 35,000 volumes.
Only qualified scholars can apply for an entry card into the site. They still need an introductory letter from a recognized institute of research.
If a person is fortunate enough to gain access to the Vatican Archives, he or she would be able to pursue such historical gems as:
- The 197-foot-long (60 meters) scroll containing the minutes of the trials of the Knights Templar, which lasted for several years starting in 1307.
- The Inter caetera, the papal bull issued by Pope Alexander VI in 1493 that split the world between the Spanish and the Portuguese
- A letter from Michelangelo to Pope Julius II
- The 1521 papal bull of Pope Leo X excommunicating Martin Luther
- The 1530 petition Henry VIII sent to Pope Clement VII in order to request an annulment of the king’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon, which includes the signatures and seals of over 80 English lords and clergymen (the Pope refused)