Because much of the world is looking towards Italy and the Vatican this week, I thought I would share some images from our trip there several years ago. We went on a Mediterranean cruise, and had but one day in Rome. It is certainly a place that we want to return to and enjoy longer. It is older than old, with churches often sitting on the site of an even older religious structure. We had some time to wander around the city of Rome, enjoy a pizza and check out the extremely touristy must-sees before our afternoon tour of The Vatican City.
You certainly can go alone, but there are masses of people and a guide navigates through the press of humanity with ease. I was pretty excited to see the Papal Swiss Guards in person – is it just us ladies who are fascinated by them? Nowadays I suppose they are romantic figures harking to the past, but in the 15th century, when it seems they were recruited, the Swiss men were “swords for hire” and saw many battles and upheavals. (I’m watching The Borgias on Netflix and goodness, what a lot of plots and intrigue and poisoning is going on!)
This picture shows where the Pope lives in the Vatican. It’s very hard to get photos of the whole group of buildings that make up the City. It is a very large complex and there are hundreds of people and security guards milling about and gates to keep the tourist corralled.
The Papal apartment buildings above look pretty plain, and had I not told you what you were looking at, it might have been any building in Rome. As you walk towards St. Peter’s Basilica, everything becomes incredibly grand and ornate. This is a door that we walked by…imagine walking being allowed to enter through that.
This is part of the ceiling in St. Peter’s. I wish our photographs were better but the space is so massive that I completely misjudged how to set my camera. Peter rescued me and did take a few that are not too dark. Though I am not a Catholic and did not understand much of what I was seeing, I have to tell you that St. Peter’s is awesome. Absolutely awesome. (And I do not use that word in every other sentence.) That men could create such beauty on such a scale way back then – it’s inconceivable. I wonder if we could build such a building today…
This is a very well photographed mosaic. It’s such an incredible design, it catches everyone’s eye. Our guide told us that many of the original paintings have had mosaic put over them, to preserve the image. The tiles are so tiny that from a distance you don’t realize it’s not a painting.
I could not resist adding this photo. I gawked at this dead Pope for so long that I was almost left by my tour group. I would like to be able to tell you which Pope this is, but I don’t want to be wrong. I looked online, but it seems that there are many dead Popes displayed. Can you see the ring on his finger? He is also wearing his red shoes. Yow!!!
When in Rome, do as the Romans applies to eating gelato! Everyone needs a little sugar to sustain themselves after taking in all that history!