Monday, 17 February 2014

Vatican City State

Behind the facade, St Peter's Basilica
Wednesday 24 July 2013: Rob's learning to cook pasta today and Debbie's shopping so this afternoon I'm off to see the smallest nation state in the world, the Vatican City. It's a fair walk but I soon cross the white line in St Peter's Piazza and, without customs or passport control, I'm in! A half-hour queue to visit St Peter's snakes to the right between the piazza's colonnades all the way to the church doors. I wait in the baking heat with little shade until we eventually reach the cool naves of the basilica, the final resting place of St Peter and more dead heads of the Catholic church than you can wave a papal sceptre at.
Sunday 28: My friends have flown so with more time on my hands I return to the the Vatican queues to climb up St Peter's dome and visit the Sistine Chapel. The panoramas from atop the basilica over the Vatican gardens and across St Peter's Piazza to the Tiber are fantastic. Adding to the thrill is being behind the basilica's facade of statues featuring Christ, eleven of his followers and John the Baptist. Surprisingly, St Peter's statue missing from the group.
After an early lunch another snaking queue precedes my visit to the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel, decorated with Michelangelo's The Last Judgement. More cherubs and biblical scenes lead, via the fascinating map room, to the Sistine Chapel and Michelangelo's famous ceiling. Yes, more cherubs and biblical scenes, but exceedingly well executed ones.
Monday 29: Shuttle bus to Rome Ciampino Airport and soon I land in Bordeaux, France.
Slideshow of Vatican City State.

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