Roman Holiday begins with St Peter’s Basilica

Our Roman Holiday over my birthday weekend began with visiting the Basilica Papale di San Pietro. But, before I begin recounting our experience, I’d like to give a shoutout to you all who like us prefer preparing your own itinerary. It certainly helps explore the city at our own pace. As far as the rest of you are concerned, here’s a small piece of advice: it is always a good idea to choose your BnB or a hotel close to the places you’re going to visit. Not only do you save money but also a good deal of time. We did the same; we chose Little Heaven Bed and Breakfast which is 5 minutes from Ottaviano Metro Station.

We had a good stay there and couldn’t have asked for more. The connectivity with the other places which were on our list were located on the AnagninaBattistini line. From the metro stations all we had to do was walk around no less than a couple of minutes. Make sure you pick your map from the bus ticket vendors at the airport or better still download an app called Moovit which gives you live directions. It really helps!

The first view of the Vatican City was of course when we walked towards it, but our BnB too had something to offer. We just had to pop our heads out of the window to be able to see the walls of the Vatican museum and the crazy queue!

IMG_20160220_094333_HDR
Look at the dead end of the road…you can see the queue and obviously can’t miss the Vatican museum wall!

On day 1 of our stay in Rome and as per our itinerary, we were to visit St. Peter’s  Basilica, Piazza Di San Pietro, Castle San Angelo and Piazza Navano. In this blog however,  I’m going to focus only on St. Peter’s Basilica and the rest will be in the next couple of blogs ~ 

Just 2 minutes from the hotel towards the Basilica we bump into this this young musician on street who played the accordion impeccably and set the tone of the rest of our day!

12079870_10156531702710006_1439503281528462726_o
Young musician

As you can make out from the photograph below the Piazza was closed because we believe there was probably a congregation that happened either earlier during the day or a couple of days ago. The chairs were sprawled out and we had to walk around it both on our way in and out. But, that wasn’t really disappointing and fortunately it didn’t take us a lot of time to get inside the Basilica. There were dense clouds overhead but mostly sunny as the clouds were carried away by the wind!

IMG_20160218_153434_HDR
Vatican Obelsik that was brought from Egypt standing tall at 25.5 mts.

There are about 13 obelisks standing tall in Rome and were brought by Roman emperors. However this obelisk that you see standing before the Basilica is the only ancient Egyptian obelisk. It took about 13 months to move and re-erect it. If a legend is to be believed the cross has the relics of Jesus Christ.

Here’s another interesting thing I read up on the internet: while the obelisk was being re-erected the ropes holding it began to smoke due to friction. Timely intervention by a sailor named Benedetto Bresca helped prevent the disaster and for which his town was granted a special privilege of providing palms that are used at the Basilica every Palm Sunday!

IMG_20160218_142445_HDR
Thankfully not too many tourists around.

Who doesn’t know that Vatican City is a walled enclave or a sovereign state within another country which doesn’t need a separate passport for people to visit. It is protected by Swiss guards who of course guard the Pope too. Though they may look like court jesters these guards are part of the world’s smallest military force made up of top ex-Swiss soldiers who know their way around the finest ammunition in the world. They are appointed by the Pope himself and are allowed to marry on a few grounds. The new guards are sworn in on 6 May every year. 

1598840_10156528694615006_9004922736302402300_o

DSC_0079
Poker faced Swiss guard on duty.
DSC_0050
A Swiss Guardsman in a regular duty uniform.

 

IMG_20160218_154108_HDR
The dome of the Basilica was designed by Michelangelo. The only thing we missed was seeing the who’d be seen only on special occasion in the balcony to address the people!

Now here are a few photographs from inside the Basilica:

The Pietà is a masterpiece by Michelangelo and the only one ever signed by the sculptor. It shows Jesus in the lap of Mother Mary after crucifixion. Her face laden with despair while she holds her son’s lifeless body.

Did you know that originally the sculpture was made for the cardinal Jean de Bilhères’ funeral monument but was moved to the first chapel on the right the moment you enter the Basilica.

DSC_0128
The Pieta by Michelangelo depicts Mother Mary as a young woman despite being a mother to a 33 year-old. Other artists have however sculpted her as an old woman.

Michelangelo himself had explained to his biographer and fellow sculptor as to why he’d sculpted Madonna as a young woman. He is quoted saying:

“”Do you not know that chaste women stay fresh much more than those who are not chaste? How much more in the case of the Virgin, who had never experienced the least lascivious desire that might change her body?” (Source Wikipedia)

DSC_0142

Everything inside the Basilica is grand. There’s so much that calls for your attention and don’t worry if you have your jaw drop looking at the masterpieces.

DSC_0124
The High Altar inside the Basilica.

DSC_0157

DSC_0144

We were spellbound throughout our time inside and kept wondering about the kind of effort that must have gone into making this church!

Have you been to St Peter’s Basilica? Were you swept off your feet like we were?

Advertisements

One thought on “Roman Holiday begins with St Peter’s Basilica

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s