A potential visitor to the Vatican would have much to gain by reading a little on the history of the place before going. I did no such thing and that, probably combined with not being a Catholic, made it a somewhat superficial experience. It is certainly grandiose, if grotesquely excessive. I got a few pictures, some good exercise and a funny moment out of it.
St-Peter’s Square, early morning. I can only imagine what it must be like on major Catholic events.
Small section of the square, again with those fascinating Roman trees, which I learned this morning are stone pines.
Part of the facade, including the very famous balcony.
My best attempt at capturing the scale. This is but a fraction of a part of the Basilica.
This would be the masterpiece of any cathedral, but is only one small dome amongst several in the Basilica.
Incredible craftsmanship on this statue of St-Vincent of Paul, one of hundreds of marble statues. Nicer to look at than any of the 91 dead Popes buried here.
Something I did not expect is that it is possible to climb on top of the dome of the basilica. The top stairs are actually inside the dome (between the inner and outer domes). It is quite claustrophobic at times and, because the walls curve horizontally and vertically, a little nauseating. Not the place to get rid of a hangover on your week-end trip to Rome!
Interior view after climbing about 200 of the 500 or so steps.
The plaza from the top of the dome. I was trying to imagine what the view must look like from here on the day they announce a new Pope. I figure it’s closed, but it’s fun to imagine.
Behind the basilica; the main building of the Vatican City Government.
My attempt at photographing the renowned Vatican security through a mirrored window. I only got one chance and then he noticed me and stopped what he was doing, but I think it’s clear enough to see what is going on. The dome has cameras everywhere and the guy supposed to monitor them in the roof control booth is in fact… playing solitaire!