Sunday, February 16, 2014

Rome: The Vatican on Valentine's Day

St. Peter's Square

I’m going to split up my Rome posts since there was so much to see. I’ll start with the Vatican. Unlucky for us, since we were hoping to see the Pope on this trip, and he had just celebrated Valentine’s mass that morning. All the chairs and altar stage were still set up, but he was nowhere to be found.

St. Peter’s square was just like in the movies and the line to get in wrapped around the outside. It actually moved a lot quicker than expected though, and it didn’t bother us to enjoy the sunny Roman day.

 Since the Vatican is technically its own country, we had to go through security, just like at the airport. Actually a little more lax, I would compare it to the Greensboro airport, and we didn't have to take off our shoes or anything.

St. Peter's Basilica

The Pieta
 Back in Venice, I thought St. Mark’s Basilica was huge, but St. Peter’s blew it right out of the canals. Most of the church was blocked off to visitors, as well as the famous Pieta, but I think I still got a pretty decent shot of it. The mosaics were amazing. From just in front, they looked like paintings, and not until you really looked at them could you tell that each piece was a tiny square.

 Going to the Vatican during off season was a wonderful decision as it wasn’t too crowded inside and I was even able to go to confession in the Vatican! We passed a wall that had all of the popes and their date of death starting from St. Peter in the year 64/67 AD up until Pope John Paul II in 2005.

 Next we climbed up to the top of the basilica and what a sight that was. You could see the entire city and it reminded me of climbing up the Rockefeller in New York. The way up was a little tricky, though. The stairways curved and you felt like you could fall over at any minute. There was even a rope to help you get up the last part because the staircase was so steep and narrow. We definitely worked off our nutella croissants from earlier that morning.

 We wanted to stay and watch the sunset at the top, but a security guard told us we had to go back down. So we just keep walking around the dome hoping to buy some more time before sunset but then they cornered us (well not really since it was a circle) and told us we had to leave. They were really nice about it though and took our picture. I snuck one last picture of the sunset as we were headed back down.

 St. Peter’s square was even prettier and emptier at night. We met up with the rest of the group who went to the Sistine chapel instead and got a group picture!

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