The Sovereign Military Order of Malta has been headquartered in Rome since 1834. Today, S.M.O.M. has permanent observer status in the United Nations and claims to be a sovereign entity. Since it doesn’t own any sovereign territory like Vatican City does, per say, many international experts dispute the claims that S.M.O.M. is a foreign country despite the fact that S.M.O.M. has diplomatic and official relations with close to 100 countries. This Catholic lay order now basically serves for ceremonial and humanitarian purposes. So let the controversy rage on, but Rome travelers can visit the post office and coin shop around the corner from the gated entrance to the palace and say they’ve visited a foreign country in the eyes of many. Hey, S.M.O.M. issues license plates and passports!
She wasn’t smiling at me, exactly. It’s quite possible that she didn’t even know I was in the coin shop; I had ducked in in a last ditch effort to find souvenirs that wouldn’t strain the already testy seams of my duffel bag. In an effort to cut down on extravagant spending, I’d only brought one bag with me; my flawless logic was that I would never dream of buying something without any estimation of how I could possible ferry it back overseas. I was wrong, of course, and my packing space was at such a premium that any further souvenirs had to be such that they could be stuffed into my jean pockets. Hence, the ” target=”_blank”>