The cars that carried pontiffs through the years and the part they played in Vatican history
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Away with the carriage — in with the auto. In 1931 the Vatican revolutionized its transportation system. With the “Roman Question” on the sovereignty between the Holy See and Italy settled, automakers were competing to donate their cars to the pope. Circumstances could not have been more favorable, as the pope at the time was Pius XI, who had a real passion for engines. In reality, already in 1909 a car had been presented to Pius X, but the gift was refused and the pope, who had no sympathy for noisy motor vehicles, continued to travel about by carriage. The entry of the first automobile into the Vatican occurred at the beginning of the pontificate of Pius XI. It was a gift from the Association of Catholic Women of the Archdiocese of Milan. Yet the world would have to wait for the signing of the Lateran Pact (1929) until the Roman pontiff would travel by car.