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What does the pope’s license plate stand for?

If you’ve ever seen pictures of the pope riding in the pontificate’s car or another vehicle in Vatican City, you may have noticed that the license plate says “SCV.” What does this stand for?

When the pope makes various tours and public appearances throughout Vatican City and the rest of the world, he often rides in a special car designed specifically for him to be able to greet large crowds.

Many of the vehicles used by the pope have bulletproof glass and usually have elevated seats so the pope can see—and be seen—above the crowds.

The vehicles that transport the Vicar of Christ usually have a license plate that says “SCV.” This acronym stands for Status Civitatis Vaticanae in Latin and Stato della Città del Vaticano in Italian. Both of these translate to “Vatican City State.”

License plates on cars registered in Vatican City include CV. Private owners have license plates that begin with CV, which is an acronym for “Vatican City” in English. Members of government and officials in Vatican City drive vehicles with the tag SCV, which stands for “Vatican City State.”

There are five additional vehicles that were used to transport the pope that are now on display in the Vatican Museums that have ascending SCV license plates, from SCV.2 to SCV.5.

Our current pope, Pope Francis, often rides in a Ford Focus that has the license plate number SCV 00919.

There are many other unique characteristics of Vatican City that you may never have heard about before. Read Fr. Jeffrey Kirby’s 101 Surprising Facts About St. Peter’s and The Vatican to get a fun look at the many treasures and mysteries held within this fascinating city. You can get your own copy here.

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