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I.  Relevant Legislation
II.  Regulated Cultural Property


'Protected Goods'— all personal and real property of artistic, historical, archaeological or ethnographic value administered by the Holy See, Vatican City State, including:
(a) all goods related to paleontology, prehistory, primitive civilizations and archeological finds;
(b) all goods related to numismatics;
(c) paper and paperless manuscripts, autograph documents, collections of letters, remarkable documents, archives as well as incunabula, books, geographical maps, musical scripts, photographic material, rare or precious prints and engravings;
(d) historical means of transportation and all goods and instruments that are relevant for history, science and technology; and
(e) collections or series of objects that as a whole, due to their fame or particular environmental characteristics, are traditionally of a certain artistic and historical importance. (Law No. 355, Art. 1)

An inventory of all Protected Goods shall be kept by the President of the Governorate [state]. (Law No. 355, Art. 2)


All tasks concerning the registration, control and verification, and the legitimate entry and exit of Protected Goods’ are assigned to the Merchandise Office, which, for this purpose, must institute a register and verify the current regulations in the countries sending or receiving the goods. (Law No. 356, Art. 6)

Before ecclesiastical administrators begin their function, they must prepare and sign an accurate and clear inventory of immovable property and movable objects, whether precious or of some cultural value. Any inventory already done is to be reviewed. (Canon Law, Sect. 1283(2))

Each diocesan bishop shall maintain an archive of the cathedral, collegiate, parochial, and other churches in his territory. He shall also take care such that documents having historical value are diligently protected. (Canon Law, Sect. 491)

Relevant State Agencies

The Vatican City State Surveillance Corps performs verification and inspection duties at the State frontier. (Law No. 356, Art. 6)

III.  Export Restrictions

IV.  Ownership Rights and Restrictions

V.  Violations, Penalties and Sanctions

VI.  International Conventions and Bilateral Agreements
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Country Contact
for Cultural Property
His Eminence Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello
Pontifical Commission for the State of the Vatican City
Via della Conciliazoine, 5
00120 Vatican City
Ph: +39 06 698 83 306
F: +39 06 698 83 955