Domus Sanctae Marthae – Vatican City - Atlas Obscura

Domus Sanctae Marthae

These spartan apartments are provided to clergymen visiting Vatican City. 


While many visitors to Vatican City simply look for affordable lodging while in Rome, the Domus Sanctae Marthae is the accommodation of choice for the College of Cardinals and other Catholic holy men.

Otherwise known as the Casa Santa Marta, the five-story building lies on the edge of Vatican City. Built in 1996 by Pope John Paul II to make papal visits easier on the aging clergymen who had been staying at lodgings farther afield, the 131 rooms are the temporary home for clergy when they are in the Vatican on official Holy See business, providing comfortable but not overly proud accommodations. However, when the College of Cardinals are summoned to elect a new pope, the guesthouse clears for the cardinals. The windows are then shuttered and locks are placed throughout in order to ensure privacy. Pope Francis made the building his home when he was elected to his station.  

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