On my birthday we decided to spend the day visiting the stunning St. Peter's Basilica in Rome and the Vatican Museum (Sistine Chapel). Now I had heard that you should be prepared to stand in line for about two hours to get into the St. Peter's Basilica, wow! Though, I must admit that I was a bit skeptical when I heard that - I mean really, two hours to get into a church? But, the rumors were true! Although, we ended up "only" having to queue for about 1,5 hours to get in. Even so, the waiting time was definitely worth it!! And it did not feel like it took that long either because the queue moved pretty much all the time. It was also quite fun to see how newly arrived people became just as stunned as I was when I realized where the queue started. Lol! But finally we got to go through the security check (which was what the queuing was for) and proceed into the very beautiful St. Peter's Basilica, where I of course managed to take a crazy amount of photos (as usual)...
So, initially my plan was that this post would be with photos from both the St. Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel. But because I really want to share enough photos to be able to convey my experience properly from these places, I have decided to divide my birthday visits into two posts. Therefore this post will be all about the St. Peter's Basilica and the next post all about the Sistine Chapel. So below are photos from my birthday at The Stunning St. Peter's Basilica In Rome. :-)
My sister and I were not the only ones on our way to the St. Peter's Basilica...
The St. Peter's Basilica seen from down the road of the St. Peter's Square.
Now in Roman Catholic tradition the St. Peter's Basilica is the burial site of its namesake Saint Peter, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus. It is also said that Saint Peter's tomb is directly below the altar of the basilica. The St. Peter's Basilica is the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture and it remains one of the largest churches in the world. Some of its architects are; Michelangelo, Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Raphael, Donato Bramante and Carlo Maderno. The St. Peter's Basilica is located in the Vatican City, the smallest independent state in the world. Each year nearly 4 million people visit St Peter's Basilica.
And this is where the queue to St. Peter's Basilica started, in the middle of St. Peter's Square...
... and it continued all around the square.
After 1,5 hours we finally got to go into the St. Peter's Basilica.
View over the St. Peter's Square from the entrance to the church.
Beautiful art we saw on our way to the elevator to get closer to the top of the tallest dome in the world.
And I am very glad we paid 7 Euros to take the elevator by the way! Because, although it says 320 stairs to the top of the dome AFTER taking the elevator, it felt like a lot more!!!
Halfway to the top of the dome we stopped in here to check out the view.
A very glowing roof.
With many, sacred I am sure, men.
The walls were also filled with beautiful art.
And now we are on our way up to the top of the dome via the very narrow 320 stairs...
N-A-R-R-O-W I tell ya!
But, once we made it up all the stairs and after I caught my breath and drank a ton of water (maybe I am not in very good shape...lol) this is the view we were greeted by. So climbing those narrow steps up all the way there was worth it indeed! And this is the classic view over the St. Peter's Square, where you can also see the never ending queue...
View over the Vatican Museum.
Of course my sister and I were not the only ones up there.
Here we have gone back down those 320 very narrow steps to the halfway point again.
And here I am looking up at the dome we just came down from.
We were aaall the way up there.
At the halfway point I also took a closer look at these fellows, namely Jesus and his disciples.
Who look like this from the ground.
Finally we entered the main part of the St. Peter's Basilica, where it naturally was very crowded.
But I can certainly see why it was, and always seem to be, so many people there - it is filled with stunning art!
And all so vivid.
The biggest altar I have ever seen! More specifically this is Bernini's first work at St. Peter's - The Baldacchino. The Baldacchino is a pavilion-like structure 30 meters (98 ft) tall and claimed to be the largest piece of bronze in the world, which stands beneath the dome and above the altar.
The light was even artistic in there.
But finally we had to leave, I think that is the pope's balcony by the way.
St. Peter's Basilica's Guards...
The Vatican City, with its less than 1000 citizens, actually has its own post office.
We finished off our visit at the St. Peter's Basilica with some birthday lunch at the St. Peter's Square.
Which we shared with this very unafraid birdie. Hehe.
Say: "Aaaa.". :-)
All in all I had a very pleasant, though quite exhausting, first half of my birthday at the St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Now I knew churches could be beautiful, but this was really breathtaking. So much spectacular art and masterpieces in one place, not to mention all the wonderful views we got to enjoy over the city. And my birthday became even more lovely as we made our way to the Sistine Chapel to enjoy all the amazing art there, but more about that in my next post. :-)