the areas comprising a large district in central Italy ruled as a temporal domain by the popes froma.d. 755 until the greater part of it was annexed in 1860, by Victor Emmanuel II: the remaining part, Rome and its environs, was absorbed into the kingdom of Italy in 1870. Also called States of the Church. Cf. Vatican City.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.