For the first time, the Vatican has joined in anniversary celebrations of the 1870 capture of Rome by Italian troops which ended the Papal States' domination of the city for more than 1,000 years.
"We are here to take part in a symbolic gesture and to re-affirm the fact that Rome is the indisputable capital of Italy, just like it is the heart of everything that concern the Church," Vatican Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone said before the ceremony, the Times of Malta reports.
Italy's President Giorgio Napolitano and the mayor of Rome, Gianni Alemanno, also took part in the celebrations of the 140th anniversary of the "breach of Porta Pia," when on September 20, 1870 Italian troops broke into Rome close to the city gate, completing the country's unification.
Mr Alemanno said Cardinal Bertone's presence had "a special meaning", even though the ceremony "was no longer a matter of healing the historical wound between the Italian state and the Holy See".
Vatican takes part for first time in 1870 capture of Rome tribute (Times of Malta)