Vatican City: A Holy Adventure
A place which dazzles anyone with its beauty and springs curiosity to travel regardless of their religion to see this historical and sacred place: the Vatican.
It is the world’s smallest state, surrounded entirely by the city of Rome. As everyone knows it is the headquarters of the Holy Roman Church and has a population smaller than 1000 citizens. It is also a must see for anyone who is interested in seeing works by the great virtuosos of Art, like Michelangelo.
If you are interested in seeing the Pope, make sure that you plan ahead as the Pope gives speeches on Wednesday and Sunday. Sunday is be a better choice if you are interested in the bigger and popular event, his blessing. To make sure you get his blessing you should check the schedule just in case and be prepared to wait as you want to get a spot where you will surely get blessed.
Also, little tip: there is a certain dress code as it is a religious place and it has its rules to be strictly followed. Regardless of gender, you need to have your shoulders and knees covered at all times (meaning no tank-tops or shorts). Some avoid the problem by wearing skirts as they are more refreshing than a pair of jeans for instance. Try to get clothing which will dry easily as it may be quite rainy, and bring an umbrella of course.
St. Peter’s Basilica
Keep in mind that nearly everything you visit in the Vatican will require your bag to be checked before entrance with metal detectors as you will be visiting sacred and old places which are treasures to the world. The St. Peter’s Basilica is a must for any visitor, and had its dome designed by Michelangelo. If you can take a elevator to the roof after which you will have to take 323 steps upwards, you will be rewarded with a fantastic view of Rome and the Vatican.
There is little space so people who are scared of heights and/or claustrophobic might not feel too comfortable. On the first chapel on the right you will see Michelangelo’s first of four works of Jesus in Virgin Mary’s lap after the crucification.
It is a rectangular building with no exterior decoration, but don’t let it’s appearance fool you as inside you will see wonders. The interior walls are divided into three levels. The lower is decorated with frescoed wall hangings. The middle of the walls have two cycles of paintings done by great artists such as Botticelli, Signorelli, Ghirlandaio and Perugino. The upper part has a Gallery of Popes. On the top is the “Ancestors of Christ” which is painted by Michelangelo and is part of the ceiling.
The ceiling also contains specifically 9 paintings inspired by the Old Testament. Michelangelo didn’t actually want to work on the ceiling but couldn’t refuse a pope so we are blessed thank you to the pope, Julius II. Visitors are not actually allowed to take photos or to talk loudly within the Chapel, so do not be tempted even if many will break the rules right under your nose.
Make sure you respect every place you visit, as it is a holy place.