Nino Lo Bello, The Vatican Empire, “The Pope’s Shop II:”
The ostensible wealth of the 108.7-acre enclave inside the sturdy Leonine Walls—the magnificent church buildings, the land, the many thousands of art treasures and precious manuscripts—serves only as the visible tip of the financial iceberg. The largest chunk of the Vatican’s empire lies below the surface. There it continues to grow, in spite of changing currents. Once, after World War I, the Vatican nearly went bankrupt. At every other time in its history, the Church has had a golden touch and has protected its investments wisely in almost every field of economic endeavor—not only in Italy but also in several other countries, including the United States and Canada.