The Vatican

Yesterday morning we all got up bright and early to visit the Vatican and see Il Papa. We got to Saint Peter’s Square early enough to beat a lot of the crowds into the Basilica. I nearly fell on the floor and died when we stepped inside, I have never seen anything so beautiful in my life. In every space you looked there was not a corner that wasn’t covered in a statue, tile mosiac, painting, or carving of some sort. It was absolutely incredible. The feet of the statue of Saint Peter were worn down from millions of pilgrims that have run their hands over them over the years. There was some sort of service going on inside, but the basilica is so big that even with hundreds of tourists inside the service was undisturbed.

We attempted to visit the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel, but after walking for a good 20 minutes to get there we found out that it was closed on Sundays. Instead we went back to St. Peter’s. We went down into the crypts to see the tombs of all the popes that have died over the years and seeing all the asian tourists snapping smiling pictures in front of John Paul’s grave, I started to be a little concerned that it was slightly sacreligious.

Next, we climbed all the way up to the top of the dome (through a few incredibly claustrophobic staircases) for some spectacular views of the city. By the time we climbed down it was about noon so we went back out to the square to wait for the pope. Il Papa came and stuck his head out a tiny window and bestowed blessings on everyone in the square in 7 different languages. It was a very unique experience, I’m very glad that I got to see the pope while I was in Italy.

In the afternoon we visited the Castel Saint Angelo and the Pantheon,and then walked back to the hostel and promptly took a nap. Last night was a bit of an early night, after eating some pasta and drinking a bit of wine a dragged myself back to my room to get a good night’s sleep and get ready for another day of sightseeing.

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