Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Roma~Day Two:The Vatican City

On our second day in Rome we decided to take a hop-on-hop-off bus tour. This was definitely a wise choice on our part! It was a nice tour company and it allowed you to hop off when ever you wanted to and then you could get back on at a later time, when ever you wanted to. It also had a recorded guide that told you about everything that you were passing along the way, we found out about a lot of things that we would not have found out other wise. Such as where Julius Ceasar was killed.
So, we were up and on the go in Rome on Saturday morning. We decided to go and tour The Vatican City. Did you know that the Vatican City is the smallest country in the world and it's population is only 400?! The Vatican City only occupies an area of less than half a square kilometre! It also has it's own postal service, army(Swiss Guard), heliport, railway station, supermarket and radio and TV stations. It also issues it own currency and postal stamps. It's pretty cool to be able to say that we have been to the smallest country in the world! And of course the world's largest church;St.Peter's Basilica. The above and below pictures show St.Peter's Basilica.

We arrived and hopped off of our bus and were awed by the beauty of St.Peter's Square. We took a lot of pictures outside and inside St.Peter's. It was amazing to be standing there when all of the other times we had ever seen it were on TV. There were not a lot of people there on Saturday, so we didn't have to wait a long time to go through the metal detectors before we could actually walk up to the Basilica. On our walk up to the Basilica we were able to see the Swiss Guards and we actually got to see them change over. Their uniforms were beautiful colors. Colors of bright yellow, red, blue and white. We get to the entrance to the Basilica and it is so beautiful, the doors are so big as is the Basilica itself. We must have walked around inside for at least an hour and a half! It was amazing to know that everything inside that looked like gold was actually gold and oh so much marble and ivory. One of my favorite things that I saw was an ivory dove holding a small olive branch, it was petite but beautiful.

The Swiss Guards.

The ivory dove holding the olive branch.

This picture below is when we first walked into St. Peter's Basilica.
The Holy Water.
This is the dome in St.Peter's Basilica.

This is the Sacrament of Penance.

This is what the floor looks like and a distant picture of the canopy that covers the High Alter that only the Pope stands on. Thus notice that this section of the floor is red-draped off for only the Pope also.
This is a closer picture of the canopy that covers the High Alter. It was very big and beautiful. You can notice the gold ceiling of St.Peter's Basilica above.This is a view of the inside of the canopy above the High Alter.
This last picture is located behind the High Alter.

Beneath the Basilica are the Vatican Grottoes-Renaissance crypts containing papal tombs. It is better known as the Tomb of the Popes. The Bookworm decided to lean down and say Helloooo to the people walking in the Tomb below us! Yes, you could actually see people walking right under us through these little vents in the Basilica.
When we were finished admiring the Basilica we went and walked through the Tomb of the Popes. We had forgotten that Pope John Paul II was buried in the Tomb of the Popes. It was amazing to actually get to see his tomb. His tomb was very plain, just like he was, he didn't like fancy things, and it was the prettiest white marble and written in gold.

After we visited St.Peter's Basilica, we had lunch in the Vatican City and then headed to tour the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel. By this time it is close to 2:00p.m. We get to the Vatican Museums(Musei Vaticani) and it takes us til just around 6:00p.m. to go through the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel! So if you ever go to Rome to the Vatican, allow ample time to be able to visit everything, you need a whole day to tour the Vatican. You could take pictures of everything in the Vatican Museums, but you couldn't take pictures in the Sistine Chapel. It was well worth going and seeing the Sistine Chapel........words can not describe how it felt to be looking at and standing in the same room with the works of Michelangelo. To see all of the pictures that most people,even me until that day,only see in books! Amazing, just amazing. It's funny we found out the story behing his painting of Jonah and the Whale. Michelangelo didn't know what a whale looked like when he was painting Jonah and the Whale, so he went to a local fish market in Rome and bought a fish. He then brought the fish back with him into the Sistine Chapel and used the fish that he had bought to paint the "whale" in the piture with Jonah. Makes sense because when you look at that picture, it doesn't look like a whale at looks like an ordinary fish! We admired the works for sometime and then headed back to our stop where we could hop back on our bus. It was a great day thus far and it wasn't over yet!

This is a picture of the garden inside the Vatican Museums. You walk through the open courtyard to get to the starting point of the Museums. I loved this rich,deep yellow color!
Here is a picture of the Princess with her favorite,"Athena". The only picture, or the closest picture, of the Sistine Chapel.
A picture of an Egyptian Mummy that the Bookworm had to take a picture of! It kept him busy giving him the camera! We have some interesting photos!

In the Hall of Maps, we found a map depicting the region of Italy where we live, the Veneto Region. We found Vicenza on the map and believe it or not we actually found the name of the town where we live too!
This is the "famous" double helix staircase in the Vatican Museum. And the dome above it.

Our second day of Roma concluded with a much deserved and earned dinner at The Hard Rock Cafe! Then we headed back to get on our bus and we departed at the Main Train Terminal. Found our Hotel shuttle and went back to our room to get much needed sleep so we would be ready to go the next morning on day 3!

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