Today is the canonization of Pedro Calunsod, the second Filipino saint. All eyes are in St. Peter's Basilica, in Vatican City, Rome. Surely there are many Pinoys in the audience on this memorable occasion. Looking at the news coverage, reminds me of my own visit to the Vatican City, a few weeks ago.
Our home base during our trip to Italy was in Milan. By train, it takes about 3hours to Rome, the capital of Italy. We rode the bullet train, which runs a steady hum of 300 KM per hour!
|Will you look at that "pretend" Stylish business traveler on the left :))|
Rome has very rich culture and lots places to see. I really set aside an "over nighter" here. We stayed in a small bed and breakfast near the train station. Compared to Paris, the room was huge & cheap!
First on our itinerary was, of course, the Vatican City. The smallest independent nation in the world. The enclave is literally separated by walls from the city of Rome.
|Walled City, literally!|
|Swiss Guards. Tough. Mercenary... and Flirts! The taller one just winked at me! Hmp! :)|
We arrived in St. Peter's Square nearing dusk. It was an ordinary Wednesday and we were very lucky, the place was not crowded with usual worshipers. We just breezed through, when our friend Teena said it usually takes hours, just to get through the square to the Basilica.
|St. Peter's Square, fronting the basilica, accommodates the largest number of visitors in the world (60,000). It's 23, 00 sq. miles or 5.7 acres|
|Bernini's beautiful colonnades hugs the huge square|
|The central dome of the basilica dominates the skyline of Rome|
St. Peter's Basilica is probably the greatest of all churches in the entire Christendom. Any devout Catholic dream of visiting it sometime in their lifetime. It is the perfect ending to a Holy Land pilgrimage tracing the roots of Christianity.
|With our friend Teena, at the facade of the Basilica.|
But then again, whether one is a Christian or not, anyone can appreciate the richness of the culture, history, architectural and artistic aspect of this place. It's really something to behold.
The moment we set foot there, I felt overwhelmed and dwarfed by the immensity of it all. Everything seems to have been magnified 100x.
|Look how many "me" can fit into these columns|
|Stretching way, way up, more than the eyes can see|
|I can barely reach the Holy Water font to dip my fingers.|
Everything is just sooooo Grandiose! I am gonna run out of superlative adjectives. It's Magnificent, Imposing, Resplendent ....
Here I am only at the one part of the nave leading to the altar. Hidden from view, on my right and left, are huge corridors with individual chapels, which can already be a small church in my country.
Think of the biggest church you know, multiply that maybe 20x... that's St. Peter's Basilica's.
|My friend and I playing on the massive pillars|
A familiar sight, but this one is the real deal ~ Pieta, a masterpiece of renaissance sculpture by Michaelangelo is displayed on the first chapel on the right side, as one enters the Basilica.
One can't help but feel "dwarfed' by the huge statues of saints and as you slowly approach the altar, you get that shrinking feeling..... God, I'm so small, really.
Many popes are buried here underneath the basilica. The crypts are works of arts themselves! Unfortunately, we didn't get a chance to see the burial crypt of Pope John Paul II.
|The entire interior of St Peter's is lavishly decorated with marble, reliefs, architectural sculpture and gilding.|
|Wondering what if feels like getting married here? :)|
Amidst all the beautiful interiors, the central feature is a Baldachin or canopy over the Papal Altar, The sanctuary culminates in a sculptural ensemble, which includes, the symbolic Chair of St Peter.
|Chair of St. Peter, a relic enclosed in gilt bronze casing|
Here's another view.
My camera cannot capture the whole thing. But underneath the canopy, lies a mysterious staircase! :)) If you've read Angels and Demons by Dan Brown, you will truly be fascinated! :)) It is said to be the tomb of St. Peter. There's still controversies surrounding whether it contains the real bones or not. But we need whole night of coffee or wine to talk about it :)
The huge dome is also a masterpiece of renaissance art.
Oh, there's just too many things to feast your eyes on!! If I have all the time in the world, I just want to sit for hours and just "feel" the Holiness of the place wash over me.
|my friend caught me in my "senti" mode|
This image is also familiar, the statue of St. Peter, commonly used in Catholic literature. This one is the "real" thing! The statue's right foot is almost torn down with centuries of pilgrims touching it.
One of the many, many chapels on the wings of the basilica.
This is one place, I don't really mind going back. If you're going, and need a companion, buzz me :) I still have so many things to explore in all those nooks and crannies.
I also want to have an "audience" with a Pope in my lifetime. :)) Actually, an audience means you're just one of the 80,000 crowd. :))
Here's what my skill and camera failed to capture ~ I cut & paste from Wikipedia to give you better perspective.
Awesome isn't it ??
If you want more ~ follow us on our Super Awestruck Adventure at the Vatican Museum ( My OMG moment at the glorious Sistine Chapel !!! ) and walking around the beautiful romantic city of Rome