Sunday, October 21, 2012

View from the Vatican

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
.... up-next!



butterfly said...

since i started having my full-time job (5-7 hrs a day) i've been more invisible in the virtual world. weekend is a luxury for me now to look closely and write blogs. promise to comment here with calm on the weekends. thanks for posting some of my pix here. extra hehehe.

love to read this one, so needs a "love-to-read-comment" di ba. see yah

butterfly said...

here i am again. =)

it is my 2nd time visiting Rome, but i sure probably enjoyed more with you guys. i mean, when it's my first time here 6 years ago, we have 3 little kids with us, so the tour is limited to just glance and pix. we toured down the church first to see the popes' tombs and not having enought time to see the church itself, as well as the sistine chapel. not to mention the endless lines and hours being soaked in the sun (it was a very hot July) from the lines to enter the st. peter's basilica.

good thing, we toured in a weekday, means less lines and waiting. and it's September, nice weather, not so irritatingly hot. i heard to peek at Pope John Paul's tomb, they ask to pay now 7euro each. what? when went there, it's free. it's just a simple square marbled tomb. nothing grandiose. St. Peter's tomb is off limits. anyway, the best part of our tour is the sistine chapel.
walang bawal, bawal, chance na. hahaha. i manage to capture "the creation" painting up in the ceiling. pasaway! =)

agree with you. i ran out of Grandiose terms. one day isn't enough to roam around the St. Peter's Basilica. you got 2 reasons to come back in the future. going up the church (cupola), and going down to see the 100+ tombs.

I haven't been up there too. Aside from being the "audience"...lucky if you'll have the chance during the jubilee years. the Holy Door is being opened. It only occurs every 25 years. The last time it happened was year 2000. so sa 2025 ulit. plus 13 years. well, ideal retiring tour pala! =)

Gheez, i haven't blogged pa pala my tours back. I need to search again where did i put the Rome fotos before. Argh. Anyway, when i have time, i will blog about Rome din. Love this blog. (lahat naman ng blog mo, i'm a fan!)