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Incredible Book of Vatican Facts: A Treasury of Trivia Paperback – December 17, 1997


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Liguorian; 1st edition (December 17, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0764801716
  • ISBN-13: 978-0764801716
  • Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 5.2 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #907,379 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Which pope was a speed demon? What is the pope's salary? Here is a non-sacred treasure trove of fascinating, surprising, and little-known tidbits about the Vatican and the popes, not only for the 700 million Catholics in the world but also for people of other faiths. Includes a time-line of significant dates in Church history, and a glossary of Vatican terms. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Nino Lo Bello is the author of ten previous books, including the New York Times bestseller The Vatican Empire, Vatican U.S.A., European Detours, The Vatican Papers, Nino Lo Bello's Guide to Offbeat Europe, and Nino Lo Bello's Guide to the Vatican. For eight years, Lo Bello was Italian correspondent for the New York Herald Tribune and for more than a quarter-century served as special correspondent to the International Herald Tribune.

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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 10, 1998
Format: Paperback
I had a wonderful time reading about Vatican City. It is not a religious book, but a trivia book about the State of Vatican City. Want to know what mistakes Michaelangelo made in the design of St. Peter's? If a pope has ever lost his temper in public? How was the pope going to outwit Hitler? Which government has jurisdiction over the pope? This book is easy reading and very informative. I loved it!!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By James Gallen VINE VOICE on May 6, 2005
Format: Paperback
"The Incredible Book Of Vatican Facts and Papal Curiosities" is a delightful collection of Trivia for any Catholic fan. Most of the book is divided into four topical categories. Each question is followed by a short answer, usually consisting of one or two paragraphs. The final section deals with topics which demand a longer explanation than those given in the earlier portions of the book. Whether your goal is to up the scores of your trivia team, prepare for your trip to the Vatican or just enjoy learning about the Church, this short book is a quick and entertaining read.
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30 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Patricia M. Dugan on August 21, 2001
Format: Paperback
To enjoy this book rather that use it as a kind of "Ripley's Believe It or Not" reference book for Catholics, read the foreword written by the widow of this recently deceased author. She humanizes this lovely little book in a very touching way. LoBello's personal life motto was "Work hard, Pray hard, Play hard." This book is his play. The author was himself a respected journalist and this is his collection of tidbits that just did not have a proper place in print for him before. And, they are funny and fascinating. Having dallied with cigarette smoking myself once, I just loved knowing that Pope John XXIII succumbed on a regular basis. Who knew there have been Pope abdications and even a layman and a woman Pope??? Read the Book! The last part has longer sections on a few topics that need time. Here is where LoBello's talent as a writer is truly evident. He takes a few provocative topics like Exorcism, Canonization, and the Vatican as Film Maker, and makes for great reading on them. The chapter on Pope Pius XII and his assistant, Sister Pasqualina, is riveting. Between her and Pope Joan, LoBello makes the men on the throne a shade paler. I read this book in one well-spent hour, and it is still a keeper. I will reach for it over and over and over.
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is not limited to those of the Catholic faith for all-in-all it is really not about Catholicism but rather about the past & present of the Vatican & those people associated with it. Lo Bello's use of an interview-style format makes the book so much more enjoyable. The content in the book is not the common questions most tourists ask about the Vatican but more unique, sometimes scandalous, things most people probably did not even know about. There is no bibliography so you wonder where Lo Bello got his information but nevertheless this book is full of history & facts that does not lose its flavor.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By E. A. Lovitt HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on June 19, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If I were a pregnant Roman, there is one challenge in this treasury of trivia that I would not be able to resist. According to the author, Nino Lo Bello, no baby has ever been born in the Vatican. (The timing would have to be just right, but here's some mother-to-be's chance to get into the Guinness Book of World Records.)

Actually, I was rather surprised that no infants at all had been born in the Vatican since some of the popes were not exactly celibate. This author mentions a few who had mistresses and children. He does not skip over the immoral bits, but this book is sweetly gossipy rather than malicious. I can't understand why Vatican officials would have a problem with it. I mean, it could easily make the reading list in a convent. The anecdote that I found most startling concerned the late Pope John Paul II: one of the first things he did upon ascending to the Throne of St. Peter was watch back-to-back showings of "The Exorcist."

Here is a sample of the type of questions you will find answered in this book:

* What size shoe did Jesus wear?

* Over what did the Vatican go to 'war' with another ministate [San Marino in 1978]?

* Which European queen is buried in the Vatican?

* Why didn't Sam Snead get his putter blessed by the Pope?

* Which U.S. comedian was arrested at the Vatican?

Do not neglect to read this book's appendixes, as these are where you will find some of the best anecdotes. The author relaxes out of the question-and-answer format of the previous 162 pages and tells some very interesting stories. One of my favorites is "John Paul II Gives Galileo a Second Chance.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Robert K. Andrepont on December 11, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
There are a few errors and a few contradictions, but overall this is a fun book. Not what I would call scholarly reseach. In fact, I would have only given it three stars but it was so difficult to put it down, it earned the fourth.
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47 of 66 people found the following review helpful By M KIRK-DUGGAN on October 20, 2000
Format: Paperback
"Cardinal Bernardin Gantin, dean of the College of Cardinals, issued a public apology for having written the forward to [the Italian edition of Nino Lo Bello's] book on Vatican anecdotes, which he said lacked respect for the Vatican 'and especially for the person of the supreme pontiff.' " {NCR, 10/6/00, p. 10}
One wonders why this 1998 trivia collection has caused such a fervor, but an examination of its contents, indicates that the curia-crats are lacking in a sense of humor and chutzpah. Perhaps the extended appendix about "La Poppessa," Sister Pasqualina Lehnert, " the German born housekeeper, confidante, adviser, and closest aide [for 41 years] to . . .Pius XII," and chief source for Pius XII's cause for sainthood is one such impropriety.
Perhaps the short paragraph about Pius IX use of the death penalty as ruler of the Papal states creates a problem. Perhaps the one page devoted to Opus Dei, the source of Dominus Iesus, caused some embarrassment. Unfortunately, the late author's description of the steps to sainthood is hopelessly out of date in the face of John Paul II's assembly line. However, he does list those 40 non-existent saints whom Paul VI removed from veneration in 1969, such as Christopher, Valentine, Anastasia and Barbara. Lo Bello notes that "other saints are optional on the basis of local loyalties. For instance, Saint [Patricus] is fine in Ireland [and the United States], but according to a Vatican official, 'holds little interest for the Cambodians.' "
Yes indeed, this is a humanizing book which tweaks those who would sanctify pontiffs and popes.
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