Friday, October 19, 2012


If you visit Rome and you're either Christian, Italian, interested in history, art or a fan of crowds, you should visit Vatican City. A good tip is to take a tour. It will cost you more but you will not need to wait in a very, very long line!!!

Vatican City State is a landlocked sovereign city-state whose territory consists of a walled enclave within the city of Rome. It consists of a 110 acres and a population of just over 800. This makes it the smallest independent state in the world by area and population. It was established in 1929 and is ruled by the Pope.
Vatican City is home to some of the most famous art in the world. St Peter's Basilica, whose successive architects include Bramante, Michelangelo, Giacomo della Porta, Maderno and Bernini is a renowned work of Renaissance Architecture.

         St. Peter's Dome as seen from the Vatican courtyard.

                                                            The Courtyard

 Some of the pieces you see at the Vatican museum date back to    
 the second century.

             The ceilings  are works of art in their own right!!

                 The art work is amazing. Look at these sculptures!

I took a closeup of the face. Look at the agony portrayed in it!!

 The tapestries that line the walls are  beautiful and again think of  
 when they were made!!

                The ceiling in the hall leading to the Sistine Chapel.

              A tapestry depicting Rome as the center of the world

                                       Part of the ceiling 

This shows the very steep and crowded stairway leading down to the Sistine Chapel. I do not have any images inside the chapel because it is not allowed and the police stationed inside are very adamant about that. They would not allow me to carry my camera on my shoulder just in case I was trying to photograph anything!!

This is called the Door of Death. It is so called because it used to be the exit for funeral processions. It contains large panels of the crucifixion and lesser panels of prophets, apostles and saints.

One of the large doors leading into the basilica

                             A panel on one of the doors

This wonderful work of art, the Pieta, was sculptured by Michelangelo in the year 1498-1499. The dimensions are 68.5 in. X 76.8in. It depicts the body of Jesus on the lap of his mother, Mary after the crucifixion. On May 21, 1972 a mentally disturbed geologist named Laszio Toth walked into the chapel and attacked the sculpture with a geologist's hammer while shouting, "I am Jesus Christ". Onlookers took many of the pieces of marble that flew off. Later, some pieces were returned but many were not including Mary's nose which had to be reconstructed from a block cut out of her back. After the attack, the work was painstakingly restored and returned to its place in St. Peters. It is now protected by a bullet proof acrylic glass panel.

A few images of the Papal Altar of St. Peters where only the Pope celebrates mass.

                           Part of the ceiling in St Peters

                    Below the altar is the ancient tomb of St. Peter.

In Saint Peter's Basilica, there is a sculpture of the "True Holy Image" the Vera Icon: Saint Veronica. In this Baroque work by  Francesco Mochi (1630), the face of Christ is chiseled into the creased marble veil. You can see it in the next two images.


                    A mass was being held when we were there.

                             The view looking out from the basilica

A member of the Swiss Guard who serve as the de facto military of  Vatican City

                             A statue of St. Peter outside in the courtyard

                                                      St. Peter's Basilica

 These are some visitors enjoying their lunch among the columns.   
 This was just a sampling of the images I made. I could spend days  
 shooting here. I hope to come back another time!!


Martha J. M. Orlando said...

Once again, Jim, you have whisked me away on a holiday! These are stunning photos of St. Peter's Basilica and Vatican City. I especially loved the statue with the face of Christ in the veil . . . hauntingly reminiscent of the Shroud of Turin.
Thanks for another splendid vacation!

Portia said...


Dangerous Linda said...

amazing! thank you for sharing! i feel like i've been on a mini-vacation!

the town i live in has a population of 730 which really put the vatican city into context for me. thank you for the education ;-)

melissa said...

You are very fortunate Jim :D You had photographed almost everything plus you got to visit the Sistine chapel.

I was so engrossed with other things back then that I failed to notice ALL the details you've shared in your post.

I 'remember' the Vatican, the Pope, the crowd, the masses I've attended. Did you get to visit the tombs of the Popes? :D

Oh and the Swiss guards :P I wasn't able to ask for a pic with them LOL!

I didn't know about the Pieta. I was wondering why they encased it with glass and was very far from people to see... but I do remember St. Peter's foot :P

I love ALL the sculptures there. They were of human size and were of human form. Very detailed too ;)Truly historic. I love the paintings too. They were very symbolic.

But the one thing I'll never forget about the Vatican is the 'feel', the 'smell' of holiness.

THANK YOU for bringing me back there and for giving me NEW eyes to SEE everything that I've missed there :D

Tameka said...

Jim, I owe you a few hundred bucks! Lol! I haven't been able to take a vacation this year, but through your post I feel like a traveled thousands of miles! Thanks so much for sharing such beauty from Vatican City. I always marvel at the artistry of the sculptures. How blessed are you that you visited in person. Lovely!