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The splendour of the Vatican City

Our feet were still sore from all the walking yesterday so instead of walking the hour to the Vatican we caught the #40 bus to Vatican from the bus station at front of Roma Termini. It is the smallest nation in the world with a population 900 and is 1sq km on western bank of the Tiber.

The dome of St Peters Basilica stands out and we entered the massive square of St Peters that you see on TV filled with thousands of people when the pope addresses the people. This is known as the richest and grandest church on earth.

Two thousand years ago it was the site of chariot races for Emperor Nero. Many Christians also died here. Apostle Peter was martyred here in AD 65. His remains are under where the main altar is today. When Christianity was legalised in 313 Constantine built a church on the site of Peter's Martrydom which lasted 1200 years until the 1500's. The church we see today was started in 1506 and took 120 years to build. It has a strict dress code and I wore my scarf around my shoulders

We got in a longish line to enter the Basilica and I bought an umbrella for 5 euro to keep the sun off me as it was so hot. The line moved quickly and we went through security checks and had no entry fee. The church is massive and covers 6 acres and can take 60,00 standing worshippers. Inside it is 2 football fields long. The canopy in the nave above the altar is 7 stories high.

There is a statue on a wall that is 15 feet tall and the one above is 21 feet high but neither appear that big as everything is dwarfed compared to the enormity of the building. The lettering in the gold band along the top of the pillars is 7 feet high.

The dome itself was designed by Michelangelo and is 1 football field long from floor to dome. The church was expensive to build and decorate. The popes financed the building by selling "indulgences" allowing the rich to buy forgiveness for their sins from the church. This corruption inspired a german monk called Martin Luther to rebel and start the protestant reformation.

Next I decided to climb the 551 steps to the top of the dome. Mum and Nath had decided to sit it out and find somewhere cool to sit. I waited in the dome line for an hour and had barely moved, so decided to give it a miss and find the others. We grabbed some ham & chess foccacias from a street stall and found somewhere to sit in the shade to eat before joining the hundreds of people heading in the direction of the Vatican museum where the Sistine Chapel is located. There were lots of tour groups and we overheard a guide say that there are so many exhibits in the museum that if you looked at everything for 1 minute each it would take you 12 years to go through the museum !!! Tickets cost 15 euro. The Vatican has its own postal service, currency, newspaper, radio station & army to watch over the pope

The Sistine chapel containing Michelangelos ceiling and the huge Last Judgement was amazing and the highlight for us. It is the personal chapel of the pope and the place where popes are elected We walked past the rest of the sculptures, paintings and massive tapestries to get to the chapel. It was good having the explanation guide to see the works painted depicting from the beginning of the world until the return of Jesus for the last judgement. It has over 300 full sized people and took Michelangelo 4 years lying on his back to complete. It was controversial at the time due to nudity but one pope on viewing the last judgement scene fell to his knees and asked for God's forgiveness of sins.

Next stop was another cold drink stop before walking down to the river to view the massive Castel Sant Angelo. The entry was 5 euro and this 200 year old castle was the best preserved castle I have ever been in.

It was built between 123 – 139 AD as a tomb for Emperor Hadrian as ancient Rome allowed no-one to be buried within their walls. The bridge was built in 130 AD by Hadrian and later was adorned with sculptured angels.

Through the Middle ages it was used as a castle, prison and place of refuge for popes under attack. There is also a tunnel for the pope to get through from the vatican if in danger

As well as being able to get to the top by a series of steps and through small squares there is an internal helicoidal ramp. It felt like a village within its walls with small courtyards and squares

Terrace of the angel – names after an apparition of the archangel a top the mausoleum in 590 AD

Loved this restaurant in the castle.

Bus back to station and to our local for cold drinks and chips. Mum and I again ate cheese and crackers for dinner and Nath walked out get dinner from Maccas at the station

Walking to Station

Walking to Station


Dome of St Peters Basilica

Dome of St Peters Basilica


St Peters Square

St Peters Square


Nave of church

Nave of church


From floor to dome is 1 footy field

From floor to dome is 1 footy field


This bottom statue is 15 feet high

This bottom statue is 15 feet high


Massive door and small me

Massive door and small me


Mum and Nath having lunch

Mum and Nath having lunch


Walking around the city walls to Sistine chapel

Walking around the city walls to Sistine chapel


Vatican views

Vatican views


Views from vatican

Views from vatican


Views from Vatican

Views from Vatican


Rome's wonderful skyline

Rome's wonderful skyline


Sculptures

Sculptures


More sculptures

More sculptures


Gardens

Gardens


The dome

The dome


Spiral staircase

Spiral staircase


City walls

City walls


Refreshment time

Refreshment time


Keeping cool under my 5 euro umbrella

Keeping cool under my 5 euro umbrella


My shade umbrella

My shade umbrella


Vatican portico

Vatican portico


Gelato time for Nath

Gelato time for Nath


Castel Sant Sangelo

Castel Sant Sangelo


Bridge over Tiber

Bridge over Tiber


Nath peaking out the castle walls

Nath peaking out the castle walls


Stairs inside the castle

Stairs inside the castle


Angel Courtyard

Angel Courtyard


Warring angel on the top

Warring angel on the top


Views

Views


Terrace restaurant in castle

Terrace restaurant in castle


Restaurant

Restaurant


View from top

View from top


Rome's wonderful skyline

Rome's wonderful skyline


The angel

The angel


Walking back over the bridge

Walking back over the bridge


Water bottle fill up fountain

Water bottle fill up fountain


Castel

Castel


Our hostel

Our hostel


Hostel

Hostel


Our local for a cold drink

Our local for a cold drink

Posted by hillbillyramsey 17:00 Archived in Italy

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