The Eternal City – Rome 3 – The Vatican

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No trip to Rome is complete without a visit to the Vatican.  No matter your religion, or even lack there of, St Peter’s Basilica is awe inspiring. 

On a sunny morning, it was pleasant waiting in line to get through security.  It was predicted to be over an hour wait but we moved along in 30 minutes – a benefit of visiting in November!

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The Atrium, or Narthex, is larger than most churches.

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The Holy Door, on the left, is opened only every 25 years.

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St Peter’s is the largest church in the world; the nave is two football fields long!  What is most fascinating is how perspective is used so your eye does not “see” how big the space is.  The statues near the floor are around 15 feet tall.  The ones above them are almost twice that tall but they look the same size from your vantage point near the floor.  The letters in gold around the base of the arched ceiling and the base of the dome are over 6 feet tall.  The dome (430 ft) is higher than a football field is long.

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The bronze canopy (baldacchino) over the alter, designed by Bernini, is as tall as a seven-story building (98 ft). The dove window (6 ft) behind the alter was also designed by Bernini.

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The side aisles are lined with chapels, tombs and artwork.

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And here, behind protective glass, is Michelangelo’s Pieta.

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Crowds linger here.  It’s hard to turn away.


About graciamc

Gracia's Travels is a photo blog. I always take too many pictures on trips so I justify my compulsion with this blog! The blog is mostly photos - they tell the best part of the story. Please contact me if you would like to use any of my photos.
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10 Responses to The Eternal City – Rome 3 – The Vatican

  1. Debra Kolkka says:

    Gorgeous photos…off season is definitley the best time to visit Italy.

  2. Janet Freeman says:

    Hi Gracia, These pictures are simply breathtaking as is the church. Good picture of Will in the atrium showing the perspective that you talk about later. The statues are beautiful and hard to turn away from. When i was there many years ago, the Pieta was not yet glassed in. I have saved the other posts from Rome and finally have time to look at them and will do so. Thanks for sharing the pics and the comments; fills in my knowledge of what I saw.

  3. Patricia says:

    Wow! You have captured the magnificent architectural details so beautifully, Gracia. After viewing your pictures on Rome, I’m ready to book my flight! I notice that blue, November sky. Not like Seattle! Thanks for sharing. I’m impressed by your organizational ability as I look at how you’ve catalogued all of your travels below!

  4. neely wang says:

    great photos, gracia — brings back lots of memories! I wish I got a better picture of the swiss guard like yours!

  5. This post was a treat, especially since I’ve been re-educating myself in the history of Renaissance art lately. I love the use of perspective you mentioned, and it ties in perfectly to the pervading Vitruvian philosophy of the time that architecture should be a representation of the proportions of the human body.

    I’ve dreamed of visiting Rome for quite some time, and I look forward to checking out your other posts!

    • graciamc says:

      I hadn’t thought about actual architecture representing human body proportions but it makes sense! I’ll have to watch for that too. And thanks for following my blog! -Gracia

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