The Papal States, officially the State of the Church (Italian: Stato della Chiesa, Latin: Status Ecclesiae) is a small state in the Italian Peninsula under the sovereign direct rule of the Pope. It is bordered by the Socialist Republic of Italy to the north and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies to the south.
Following the Napoleonic Wars and its restoration at the Congress of Vienna, the Papal States became unstable and faced liberal revolts, most notably the Roman Republic of 1848 which was only suppressed in 1850 by the French Army, leaving the Papal States, who were also staunchly opposed to Italian unification, dependent on French support that would ultimately doom them. After the fall of the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, the Piedmontese government requested the French to allow them to seize the Papal States, which was granted on the condition that Latium remained untouched. This would last until 1870 when the outbreak of the Franco-Prussian War forced the French garrison to withdraw, allowing the Kingdom of Italy to conquer the rump Papal State, ending the Pope's temporal power over central Italy after over a millennium.
The Papacy in protest refused any accommodation with the new Kingdom of Italy, not even leaving the Vatican so as to avoid any appearance of accepting the authority of the Italian government, excommunicated the King of Italy and demanded that any Italian Catholics refrain from voting in elections. In 1919, the captivity ended in the peace treaty between Italy and the Central Powers
Following the collapse of Italy after the Weltkrieg, Rome became in danger of capture by the Socialist Republic of Italy, after it refused to recognize the new Italian Federation. The blurry battle lines of the civil war mostly spared Rome due to the local Austrian garrison, which, together with local right-wing militias, crushed uprisings in Rome. The debilitated state had no armed forces loyal to it, however, and it had scarce chances at resisting any Syndicalist offensive. However, King Ferdinand III of the reborn Kingdom of Two Sicilies and now leader of the Italian Federation would not stand by while the centre of Catholicism fell to syndicalism, and led a counter-offensive to secure Rome, bringing the Papal State under Sicilian protection, receiving significant support from Austrian occupation garrisons and a few foreign volunteers, the reborn Zouave corps.
After the war ended, the Papal state controlled only a small fraction of its nominal territory and is in most respects a rump, puppet state. However, it's recognized as an independent state by the majority of nations in the world.
As the plural name Papal States indicates, the various regional components retained their identity under papal rule. The pope was represented in each province by a governor, a number of styles arose; papal legate, as in the former principality of Benevento, or Bologna, Romagna, and the March of Ancona; or papal delegate, as in the former duchy of Pontecorvo and in the Campagne and Maritime Province. Other titles like Papal Vicar, Vicar General, and several noble titles like "count" or even "prince" were used. However, throughout the Papal States' history, many warlords and even bandit chieftains ruled cities and small duchies with no title bestowed by the Pope.
In the sphere of Curia politics, the fading health of Pius is in everyone's minds, and the names of four preferiti (favourite candidates) are whispered; Elia dalla Costa (the Archbishop of Padua, a man revered for his deep faith and holiness and awarded the Order of the Crown of Italy for his humanitarian services during the Weltkrieg), Achille Liénart (the Archbishop of Lille, a social reformer and supporter of trade unionism and the Worker-Priest missionary movement) Eugenio Pacelli (the Archbishop of Sardes, a traditional Pope who wishes to maintain the current order and care for his home city of Rome) and Alfredo Ildefonso Schuster (the Archbishop of Milan, a staunch militarist and believer in an eleventh crusade, this time against syndicalism.)
Head of Government: Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli
Foreign Minister: Cardinal Alfredo Ottaviani
Economy Minister: Cardinal Domenico Tardini
Intelligence Minister: Cardinal Theodor Innitzer
While having a nominally strong navy, including the battleship Roma, the Papal Armed Forces are token defences, for the Sicilian Army defends it and garrisons the northern outskirts of the Eternal City. The Navy, too, can be commandeered by Sicily at any point, based on a few provisions that give the claim of full military command to the leader of the Italian Federation, even if said polity is de facto extinct.
While being by most practical accounts a puppet state, the Church is not so formally and is permitted to run it's own foreign policy out of respect for the Holy Father, according to official sources. While recognized as an independent nation widely in the Catholic World and the Great Powers at large, a few diplomats consider it little more than a buffer that the Two Sicilies uses to keep Rome under control, and as a springboard for a possible offensive into Tuscany once an opportunity arises.
Agriculture, crafts, animal husbandry and fishery are the main traditional sources of income. Agriculture is characterised by the cultivation of wine grapes, fruit, vegetables and olives. Industrial development in The Papal States is limited to the city of Rome and its outskirts, due to this the country is mainly unfit for a state of total war. Because of the country's economic problems, the value of the lira is pegged to the Sicilian Ducat abroad.
The Eternal City, Rome, is almost synonymous with high culture, yet not much of that has transpired since the Papal State was restored. Refugees flooded the city, and even after 10 years many of them are still around, their tents turned into impoverished neighbourhoods.