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Monday, May 24, 2010

RT- My trip to St Peter's Basilica, Vatican City

We visited the Vatican City during our trip to Rome and St. Peter’s basilica was, without a doubt, the most impressive piece of architecture I’ve ever seen. Pictures and words could not describe how magnificent the basilica was. This cathedral has the largest interior and it can accommodate 60,000 people.

When we arrived, we were greeted by thirteen statues standing on the balustrade above the attic of St. Peter's Basilica. They portray Christ, St. John the Baptist and eleven Apostles.

Before entering the cathedral, we made our way to the top of the cupola and came across a walkway from where we can see inside the dome. This walkway going round the cupola allows you to admire the beautiful mosaics and the magnificence of the inside of the cupola in a close up.

As we exit the interior of the dome, we reach another level where you can see the awesome view of the main dome from the roof terrace. The sheer beauty of it is simply amazing. It's an enormous dome, the largest church in the world and gives a spectacular view overlooking the entire square below.

There is a lift leading to the dome but unfortunately, the top level is only reachable by stairways. So after getting off the lift, we had to climb 320 steps in progressively narrowing staircase, zigzagging and rounding up the side of the dome. I almost fainted when I came upon the winding stairways. But then, it was virtually impossible to turn back because there were people coming along behind you. Despite the strenuous climb, we were glad we made it to the top level, the cupola view really showed us what a magnificent city it was.

So here we are, at the highest point of Vatican city. The view of Rome from the Dome of St. Peter's Basilica. The observatory deck is not that spacious and big, so there's not much room to walk around the cupola. We managed to observe the whole Vatican, the city of ancient Rome, the entire St. Peter's Square, it was incredibly awesome. The shot was not as good as I would have liked, but I was glad I had a chance to experience the view and proudly say I was at the top of St. Peter's.

After enjoying the panoramic skyline, we proceeded downwards to the cathedral where it houses the famous Michelangelo’s Pieta, and incredible pieces by Bernini, the tomb of St. Peter, as well as the tombs of many Popes.

This is the view seen upon the first step beyond the entrance hall

The bronze statue of Saint Peter. Local and foreign tourists queue up to touch or kiss the foot of St. Peter to pray for mercy or forgiveness.

Michelangelo's Pieta is one of the Vatican's best known artworks. It depicts the body of Jesus on the lap of his mother Mary after the Crucifixion. It's behind proof glass due to vandalism in the 70's.

The famous altar with Bernini's baldacchino. St. Peter's tomb lies directly below this structure.

Visiting Saint Peters on a Sunday morning, we were lucky enough to be in the Basilica for one of the masses. In the center of its background, you can spot the chair of St Peter's, one of Bernini's most magnificent inventions.

We also visited the tombs of St Peter as well as other Popes. They do not allow any photography in this area and they are strict about silence here also but we did sneak one without flash.

This is the front facade of St Peter Basilica as we walked out from the cathedral. You can see the chairs that were set up for the events which were expected to take place later in the day.

St. Peter's Basilica, view from a distance

First Commenter - Mei Teng


  1. wow..I cannot imagine 60,000 people in the cathedral. A crowd of a few thousands is considered huge already.

  2. wow..vatican city.. a lot of movies from here.. .. very impressive..

  3. Thanks for the fabulous description that you have provided over here.I have heard from people that the basilica is really beautiful.Hope to visit it someday.Do keep posting pictures of the wonderful places you visit.

  4. Every time I visit this wonderful place, I stand stand and stare in amazement! Lovely photos TFS!


  5. Impressive buildings, love the shot of stair.

    Beautiful work of you too, nice shot taken.

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  6. Beautiful photos of a spectacular place. I visited many years ago, I'd love to go back with a camera in hand!

    I've entered a major international photo competition (details are on my blog) and would be most grateful if you'd click through and rate my portfolio (just click on the stars at the bottom (preferably the 5th star - "fantastic" - LOL), easy peasy, no registration or personal details needed). Thanks so much!

  7. I cannot imagine 60,000 people all in one place! It must be HUGE!

  8. Extraordinary shots for Ruby Tuesday, Life Ramblings! Thanks for playing Ruby Tuesday! :)

  9. This is amazing. I can't imagine Jesus being there, just the current Caesar. Amazing.

  10. wow..amazing imagesx lynda
    Happy Ruby Tuesday

  11. As a very young child, I saw the Pieta in person at the 1964-65 Worlds Fair in New York. I remember standing in a very long line to see it with my mother and my grandmother, who bought little replicas to take home.

    Tink *~*~*

  12. I just love the beautiful architecture!

  13. Thanks for giving us the grand tour of the St. Peter's Cathedral. I've been there myself,only once, and would go again tomorrow if it was possible. Not to Michelangelo's main construction, the Cupola though, fear of heights and so on.
    Some extraordinary mosaics, incredible work.
    I hope you had time to go around the quarter and take some pix in the Sixteenth Chapel as well.
    Perhaps next Tuesday?

  14. Thank you for letting me revisit St. Peter's with you. Good photos for Ruby Tuesday.

  15. One day my husband and I will visit Rome. One day. Meanwhile, thank your for your tour! Such grandeur.

  16. LR: You captured the cathedral in all its splendor, nicely shown. Thanks for climbing those stairs, I wouldn't have done that.

  17. So beautiful! That's the place I love to visit someday. Happy RT!

  18. Utterly gorgeous. Amazing art and architecture.

  19. oh wow..that is one place i really would like to get to. that top view is really beautiful. hey, how'd you sneak that pic? :D i want to try that.

  20. thank you for sharing all these wonderful photos
    your shot of the stairwell is amazing!!

  21. Wow!!!!! Such a great trip. The spiral stairs reminded me of the Statue of Liberty, You also have to climb.

  22. I was there 5 years ago. It is surreal to see the wealth that lives within the walls of the Vatican city. My pictures are nothing next to yours. I have since then invested in a better camera LOL Best pictures ever. Thanks for sharing.


  23. Whoa lovely place, nice photos and would have a feeling the vibration would be great and intense inside the building. tQ.

  24. Vatican city? War...why your trip sounded so like "Angel and Demon"? :p

  25. Wow...largest Cathedral? Can fit in 60k of people! This is enormous!

  26. that's why you have 13 statues up there lar! :p

  27. The mosaic is so damn beautiful and intricate. :p must have taken lots of time and patience to complete it. :)

  28. So all of you actually squeezed through those 320 steps? :p Must be quite suffocating huh!

  29. Wow...the top view is exactly like from the movie Angel and demon. :p So magnificent. :D

  30. Wow...the altar with Bernini's baldacchino is truly a sight to behold. :) must be one of your best trip ever huh!

  31. Wow! Nice trip.
    Well taken pics leh.

  32. What a treasure trove of photos for us!!!

    My Ruby Tuesday. I do hope to see you drop by for a visit with me today.

  33. Oh the memories.. We went there in the eighties.. Still looks the same.
    Left our passports and had to return in rush hour traffic. we laugh about it now.
    My Tuesday link for you Making life easier.

  34. Oh I love that winding staircase, looks so elegant! :)

  35. The view from the top is simply gorgeous and I'm happy u got the chance to experience this wonder and share it with us, yay! :)

  36. These are stunning shots with great detail! I'd love to visit here one day. Great captures.

    Thanks for your RT visit! :)

  37. This is the place I want to visit someday. I'm envious of your pictures. Amazing structures!

  38. u're so lucky LR!! I'd love to visit this place one day...

  39. i only experienced this place through my drawings back then in college =P