Tuesday, 25 March 2014

A close look at the Vatican: St. Peter's Basilica

Time for a closer look at the Vatikan.

When you visit the Vatican, you can visit St Peter's Basilica or/and the Vatican Palace (=the museums). Of course you could also visit the Pope, which we did not do. 

We entered the Vatican 3 times: 
1 x St Peter's Basilica, in the early morning
2 x the museum (incl. 3 x Sistine Chapel)

I don't know about your attention span, but I do know that I brought home a lot of photos. I will start with the basilica and cover the palace in a follow-up posting. 

St. Peter's square in the early morning. 
The aquare – which is not square, as you can see – was smaller than expected. 2 hours later, we walked past a long queue on our way out. The queue was leading from the left end to the right end of the square. It is very wise to start early when you want to miss the long queues.

When you decide to go up to the cupola, you will have to climb hundreds of stairs. The lift does not go all the way up to the top. On our way up we paused on the "balcony" inside the cupola.

There was a mass being held, but I can't make out the priest:
People with vertigo: stay away from the cupola!
Mr Paula on his way down:
Inside the cupola.
If you enlarge the photos, you can make Mr Paula jump back and forth with your keyboard. :)
One moment he's here ...
... the next he's gone
On the way up/down you will pass some windows that let in fresh air.
Claustrophobic people, stay away from the cupola!

The roof of St Peter's Basilica is a friendly place. 
You will find ashtrays, a souvenir shop and free toilets.

The modern building with the sloped roof is he reception hall. It dates back to the 1960's. 
I like how it looks.

The tourists like how Rome looks
Afterwards we went inside the basilica. Free admission.
Looking at this photo I was wondering "What? Did I lay on the floor?" No! I was standing upright. The huge dimenion of the basilica makes you feel smaller than you acutally are.
By the time we had left the cupola, the crowds had arrived inside the basilica.
 Time to leave.

The fact, that we were among the first visitors, walking all the way up, without any queuing up, made the whole visit pleasant. Don't even think about how it must feel when you are stuck inbetween the crowds on your way up to the cupola on those narrow stairs, the really narrow part, where the walls bend. Please go there very early in the morning. By very early I mean let the alarm clock wake you up way before 7am.

To be continued with a close look at the palace (=museum!) Let me end with 2 teasers:
No one cared about the Etruscan collection ...
... because everbody was busy getting to THE SISTINE CHAPEL!
Oh, we had such a good time. Even the crowds in the museum were fun. 

The second visit at the museum was much more enjoyable, because by then we knew what to expect. "sumimasen ... sumimasen" was our mantra, when we made our way through the myriads of Japanese groups. "sumimasen ... sumimasen". Again, once more: more to come!

Good night,

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