St. Peter's Basilica

It's been two months since I went to Rome... and I'm just now getting around to writing about St. Peter's. I've been hesitant, mainly because I've had trouble cutting down the number of pictures I took there. So this post is long... and there are 21 pictures.

St. Peter's was, without a doubt, the most amazing thing I saw on the two week trip. Probably the most amazing thing I've seen in my whole life, honestly. There are moments in life that really take your breath away... and walking into St. Peter's for the first time was one of those for me. It's beauty, it's majesty, just blew me away.

The church is huge, but everything was designed to make it feel smaller, more intimate. It covers six acres and is two football fields long. The baby statues at the base are the size of real life adults. The lettering in the gold band around the church (which quotes everything Peter said to Jesus) is seven feet tall. The statues at the base are 15 ft tall, but the ones above them are six feet taller. The bronze canopy over the altar (and above St. Peter's tomb) is seven stories tall. The dome is higher than a football field, 448 ft tall.
{Pope John Paul II's grave}
{Michelangelo's Pieta}

STL Connection! The Pieta now sits behind bulletproof glass because in 1972, a 'madman with a hammer' climbed up and started hacking away at it. And you know who pulled him off? City Museum founder Bob Cassilly! Can you believe that?! Here's the story as Bob told it and it was also mentioned in Rick Steve's book!
{The Atrium}
{The Holy Door, only opened every 25 years}

We actually went to St. Peter's twice. We stopped at Vatican Square before seeing the Pope, then went through the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel, and then visited St. Peter's for the first time. We had made plans to go up in the Dome, but were exhausted after an early morning and full day of sightseeing (and losing Socorra), so we decided we would come back to do the Dome (and gelato) again the next morning.
{Bernini's 140 Favorite Saints}
The obelisk in the middle of the nativity scene (yey Christmas decorations!) is 90 ft of solid granite weighing more than 300 tons, and is originally from Egypt over 2,000 years ago. Yes, that's right, they brought it over from Africa. It's seen pharaohs, Romans, Greeks and now greets visitors to the Square everyday. Freakin' amazing. To the right of St. Peter's is the pope's residence and the Sistine Chapel.

I'm glad we went back the second day because (a) it was prettier out, so the pictures were better and (b) because if I had tried to climb the Dome the day before... I would have died. Literally. Climbing the Dome is brutal. Even if you take the elevator, you still have to climb 323 stairs in tiny stairways that are sometimes tilted like a fun house and sometimes spiral staircases! Just when I thought I was going to pass out/freak out from claustrophobia, we arrived to the top. The view is breathtaking.
{the 'paintings' in St. Peter's are actually super intricate mosaics. Gorgeous up close and worth the first elevator ride just to see these, and the view inside the church.}405322_10100630619879660_15918666_54166724_122290761_n
But these are the views you get at the top (well, the first two are at the very top, the second two are a level below on the roof of the church as you make your way down). It's just amazing. And something everyone should be lucky enough to see once in their lifetime. I love St. Peter's... can you tell?

Click here for links to all my Rome and Morocco travels!

1 comment:

Kristin said...

I wish we would have gone up into the dome when we were there. Love your descriptions too (thanks, Steve!)!

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