Vatican City

Vatican City Travel Blog

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St. Peter's Basilica

We took campsite transportation to the Vatican City.  We arrived and there was a huge line to get in... we walked around to St. Peter's Square.  The Pope was speaking when we got there but there were too many people to get in.  Instead we went to a shop to wait where we heard an english speaking tour left from.  We lucked out and found the tour after waiting 45 minutes.  It was a bit expensive but totally worth it.  We paid 40 Euro for the tour and 12 Euro to get inside.  The tour was of the Vatican City and St. Peter's Basilica.  The group only had 10 people in it so it was perfect with the small group.  The tour guide was in her young 20's and a student in Rome studying Art and History originally from Texas.

Swiss Guards
  I was thrilled to hear an american accent!

We still had to wait in line however it wasn't as long as when we got there.  While we waited in line she told us lots of facts and history about the Vatican City and Rome.  It only took an hour in line and we soon found ourselves inside the vatican gates.  We learned about the swiss guards while waiting in line and how they are the only ones allowed to protect the vatican.  in order to become a Swiss Guard you have to be a good practicing catholic, between teh age of 18-25, trained in the military, and have the equivalence of a black belt and more!  Also the uniforms they wear were designed by michelangelo, not one of his better creations.

Once inside we first went to the Picture Gallery.

Sphere within a Sphere
  We stopped at about 5 specific pieces which she talked in depth about.  Explaining who the artist was, the scene, and its significance.  It was very interesting and enjoyable.  Then we went into a large court yard where we saw the sphere within a sphere monument, whe had already seen its duplicate at Trintiy college in Dublin Ireland.  However this one still spins and with the permission from a swiss guarde she started it spinning.  Then we stood by pictures of the sistene Chappel where she spent about 20 minutes going over what we would see inside and the significance behind it.  This was done since it is a place of worship you are supposed to be quiet inside. 

The ceiling was recently cleaned so it was much brighter than post cards they were selling.

Bohemian Glass Alter with Dove.
  So here is some information i found interesting about the sistene chapel.  Michelangelo didn't want to paint the sistene chapel and was practically forced to do it.  He in turn added his own touch to many scenes.  For example the Scene of Adam and God, behind god is a cross section of the human brain.  Its interpretation isn't clear but maybe suggestion using reasoning or thinking. 

Another painting right above where the pope would preach is the creation of the sun and moon.  There is a man in this image with a bare backside so where the first "mooning" took place.

Another is with Adam and Eve. Adam is the one reaching for the forbidden fruit though.  Many believe Michelangelo did this to say both men and women are tempted.

St. Peter's Basilica

The wall mural in the chapel is of Judgement Day that Michelangelo painted 20 years after the ceiling.  It may be purposely or by coincidence but it looks like a skull when taking in the whole wall.  Also in the corner the "devil" has the face of a cardinal which bad mouthed micheangelo's work.  When the cardinal talked to the pope about it he said I have no powers in hell.  Most of the people in this mural were naked however later on a pupil of his added cloth to the paintings to make it more acceptable for the chruch.  We also saw many of Rafael's tapistries that were made by him and his pupils that used to hang in the sistene chapel.

Next we went into Saint Peter's Basilica.  It is enormous.  We were told dimensions of things, in feet, which were helpful like learning the size of the lettering around the dome.

St. Peter's Square
  The large bronze Structure made by Bernine is centered over St. Peters grave and fits in the top most part of the dome.  The basilica was designed to be uplifting and you won't find jesus on a cross.  The original artwork inside the basilica has been removed and replaced with mosaic replicas.  The dome was designed by Michelangelo and is 1/2 meter smaller than the pantheon, he didn't want to take away from the ancient structure.  The focal point of the basilica is the back alter when bohemian stained glass window with a dove in the center is.  After the tour we climbed the dome which was tiring but we got a cool view of the Vatican City. 

 

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St. Peters Basilica
St. Peter's Basilica
Swiss Guards
Swiss Guards
Sphere within a Sphere
Sphere within a Sphere
Bohemian Glass Alter with Dove.
Bohemian Glass Alter with Dove.
St. Peters Basilica
St. Peter's Basilica
St. Peters Square
St. Peter's Square
Vatican City
photo by: EmyG