May 02, 2013-Vatican-5966Vatican City is not only the smallest city state in the world area wise (110 acres), but also population wise (at roughly 800 citizens).  It first gained it’s independence from Italy in 1929.  St. Peter’s Basilica and Square were both constructed in the 16th century.


With the days counting down, it’s finally time to become a tourist in Rome.  Today’s to do list – the Vatican.

May 02, 2013-VaticanGuard-5866Swiss Guardsman in regular duty uniform

With tourist season almost in full swing, we knew it’d be busy – but not as busy as it was.  We initially intended to do everything (St. Peter’s Basilica, Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museum), but right after we got off the metro, we saw the line stretching around the block for the museum.  So we started off by heading to the Basilica.

May 02, 2013-VaticanStPetersSquare-5869St. Peter’s Square

May 02, 2013-VaticanStPetersBasilica-5876St. Peter’s Basilica

After a short line and metal detector check point later, we walked into the Basilica.

May 02, 2013-VaticanStPetersBasilicaInside-5884St. Peter’s Basilica

May 02, 2013-VaticanStPetersBasilicaLight-5889Light reflected in through one of the domes

May 02, 2013-VaticanStPetersBasilicaMary-5924Pieta by Michelangelo

May 02, 2013-VaticanStPetersBasilicaDove-5918Stained glass behind an alter with the Dove of the Holy Spirit – different colors than what you normally see, yellow alabaster.

May 02, 2013-VaticanStPetersBasilicaDome-5935The tallest dome in the world – 136.57m tall. The mosaics took almost 45 years to complete.

The whole Basilica is amazing.  We’ve seen cathedrals all over Europe now, and not surprisingly this is absolutely the largest and most intricate.  The amount of artwork and the sheer size of the Basilica is hard to comprehend.  We probably could have spent the whole day wandering around the cathedral to take in all of paintings, mosaics, and sculptures.

Since the lines for the museum and Chapel were long, we decided to hop in line to climb to the top of the Copula.  Some people have said this is the best view of Rome – and they are right.  For 5 euros and 551 steps later, you’re standing on top of the Dome with 360 degree views.  We picked a perfect day weather wise to see everything!

May 02, 2013-VaticanGardens-5953 View of the Vatican Gardens from the top of the Cupola.

May 02, 2013-VaticanDers-5988Andrew checking out the view.

May 02, 2013-VaticanStatues-5996Thirteen statues stand at the top of the Façade of the Basilica – Jesus flanked by eleven Apostles and John the Baptist.

May 02, 2013-VaticanSwissGuard-6005Papal Swiss Guard

The whole climb up the Copula took over an hour due to lines on the way up, so we ran out of time to try and wait in line for the museum.  Hopefully I can get back there before I leave!

The other guys decided to take the metro back to our apartment, but I decided to walk the 3ish miles along the Tiber River.  Beautiful weather and only a few more days in Rome was not going to keep me underground in a metro!

May 02, 2013-VaticanFamily-6058A late afternoon stroll.

May 02, 2013-RomaGazoSign-6059Via del Gazometro – my home for the last 100ish days.

I added a Page to my site called My Gear, which gives you an idea of what equipment I have been using this whole time abroad.

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