Magnificent Rome — Vatican City

Normally, I write about the late 1800s, the early 1900s, and the present, but I was very fortunate to visit Italy a few weeks ago, and this is truly a city of the past and present. The Eternal City.

I was astounded the first morning when we took a short ride on a public bus.  I saw, spanning the Tiber River, a beautiful bridge with several statues, and it was instantly familiar, probably from photos and movies.  On the other side stands an ancient castle.  The bus crossed the bridge, and the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica came into view.  I was thrilled to see these monuments so close together.  My mouth might have dropped open, but the other people on the bus were just going to work that morning.

To enter St. Peter’s Basilica, you wait in a long line in one of the most famous squares in the world.

There is a post office in the square, where you can buy postcards and mail them home with the postmark of the Vatican, which, you’ll recall, is a separate country from Italy.

Here’s the interior of  St. Peter’s Basilica, probably the largest church in Christendom.

The baldacchino, the bronze canopy-like structure, was designed by the Bernini and stands over the altar, which was built over the tomb of St. Peter, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus.

Men and women of the cloth pass the throngs of sightseers and go about their business.  From a chapel at the side, open only to those who wish to pray, a couple people emerged looking sad.  I imagine they pray at St. Peter’s for their desperately ill loved ones.

Two Swiss Guards are stationed at a private entrance for cars.  Although visitors took photos, his expression was almost fierce, letting everyone know he was truly guarding the Vatican.

The Vatican Museum, in a separate building, contains treasures of ancient Rome and the Renaissance.

The walls of the room above are covered with frescoes of maps.

Four rooms in the Vatican Museum were decorated by Raphael.

These rooms include Raphael’s “School of Athens,” below, featuring famous Greek philosophers.

The Sistine Chapel, with the ceiling and the altar wall by Michelangelo, is the most famous room in the Vatican Museum.

I’ll post more photos of magnificent Rome.


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