Monday, November 8, 2010

Rome-Day 3

The goal for our 3rd day in Rome was the Vatican and St. Peter's Basilica. Since it was across the river we did use the local bus.
The square in front of St. Peter's Basilica was crowded with people. Some like us, waiting in line to get in, others just wandering around. It was about a 45 minute wait to get in and it was free.

The Vatican City is recognized as an independent country with its own police and security force.

There are several tours of St. Peter's. We first went underground to visit the tombs of previous Pope's. Then when we exited we had to go around to the front again to go into the cathedral itself.

Inside St. Peter's Basilica, the largest cathedral in the world. After having been in so many other cathedral's over the past few days, it really was just another very fancy church.

Next it was on to the Vatican itself. We had been told to get there early (before 8am), or wait until about 2pm if we didn't want to wait in line. Well, we didn't and boy, did we have to wait in line. The line went up the street, then around the corner for this distance again before turning the corner again to the entrance. We stood in line almost 3 hours. But we met a lot of interesting people while waiting.

Vatican City was not free, so if you want to see the Sistine Chapel you paid.

The courtyard inside the Vatican Museum.

Inside was one of the best museums we had seen. Halls and halls, and rooms of statues, most of early Roman times, some from the later Renaissance period. Notice the fig leaf across the private area on the statues. They say that several hundred years following the renaissance one of the pope's decided that showing of private areas of the body was not proper in the vatican. This pope had the private areas on all statues covered with new carving/plaster of fig leaves or what looked like drapes of fabric.

There was also many carving, reliefs and objects from the pre-Roman times. Some Egyptian as well as Etruscan.

An early Roman bathtub.

There were also rooms with walls and ceilings painted similar to this.

This was an early Egyptian object. Some type of tomb.

These urns and casket were dated to about 1000 B.C.

Even the insides of the sarcophogus was elaborately decorated.

These pots were dated about 3000 B.C.

This chariot was dated about 500 B.C.

Some of this jewelry was over 2000 years old.

The golden hallway. They say all foreign dignataries coming to see the Pope have to walk down this hall.

Finally, after 2 miles of museum we get to the Sistene Chapel. The Sistine Chapel is the Pope's private chapel and the chapel famous for the paintings which were done by Michaelangelo. Unfortunately they did not allow pictures inside the chapel, so if you want to see it, you'll just have to go visit it yourself.

One of the many items which have been given to the Pope's over the years as gifts.

Outside the vatican we saw this elevated road and wall which connects the vatican and the Castel Sant'Angelo.

We followed the road to the castle. Originally built by Roman Emporer Hadrian as his burial place. It was illegal to bury anyone inside of Rome and at the time Rome city limits ended at the Tiber River. So Emperer Hadrian crossed the river to build this building to house his remains and his families.
After the Pope's gained power in Rome, they built the connecting road and wall. Whenever the vatican and pope's were threatened they would escape and hide in this fortress. The vatican even housed its treasury here for many years.

A medieval catapult with the stones it would have thrown.

The bridge over the Tiber River to the castle.

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