Thursday, October 8, 2009

Italy (Day 5) – Vatican City

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After having our breakfast at the hotel, my wife and I got into the bus to Vatican City. A territory enclosed by stone walled or buildings within the city of Rome. It’s the smallest country and population in the world. How ironical. At least, something to put into my travel profile. The city is ruled by the bishop of Rome; guess who…it’s the Pope who is the head of state and head of government of this city. On our way to Saint Peter’s Square, I saw this impressive round structure was once a castle called Castle San Angelo. Today, it's a museum and a place to explore.

View of Saint Peter’s Basilica from the nearby street, unfortunately the weather that day was not so good, it’s was drizzling. So we literally have to put the umbrella aside while asking someone to snap a photo of us.

On the square, lies the amazing covered wings curve structure of 100++ columns each on both side. Try to notice, that there were a total of 140 Colonnade Saint statues on the top of the columns.

This obelisk was from Egypt and it’s about 25m high. It is also a sun dial, its shadows mark noon over the signs of the zodiac in the white marble disks in the paving of the square.

One of the fountains in the square, there was another one built symmetry on the other side

Finally I managed to get a full view of the Saint Peter’s Basilica with the dome

Basilica with the Statue of St. Paul in the foreground

There another Statue of St. Peter on the left hand side

Apostolic Palace which is actually a group of buildings including the Papal Apartment

This is the Papal Apartment which occupies the top floor of the Apostolic Palace. The top two right windows are the study and bedroom of the pope. On Sundays at noon, the pope usually appears at the second window from the right to pray the Angelus and bless the crowd in the Square.

Swiss guards in their traditional uniform. They were recruited by Pope in the early days and still continue to protect the Pope as a personal bodyguard. Swiss Guards at this entrance will let you pass if you have business in the Vatican, or if you have reservations for the Scavi tour.

Before entering the basilica, we need to undergo a security checking on our belongings on the right entrance. After the security checking, you can rent an audio tour of the basilica. While waiting for my wife, I went to the other side and notice there’s also Swiss Guards at this entrance. I wished I could go nearer, but I can’t.

Here are some of the photos I took while inside the basilica. Saint Peter's Basilica has the largest interior of any Christian church in the world. It is the symbolic "Mother church" of the Catholic Church and is regarded as one of the holiest Christian sites. Below is the photos interior of the basilica.

Lot’s of time and research have been done to identify the altars and monuments of each photo.

Altar of Pieta

Altar of St Jerome

Below the Altar of St Jerome is the body of John XXII who died in 1963 and you can see the face clearly

Altar of Falsehood

Altar of Immaculate Conception

The Papal Altar and rising above it is the Baldacchino

A closer look at the Baldacchino, a type of canopy supported by poles

Monument of Leo XII

Monument of Benedict XIV

Monument of Alexandar VII

Monument of Pius VIII

Monument of Innocent XI

The bronze statue of Saint Peter

St Andrew statue at the Entrance to the Sacristy of St Peter

View of the dome inside the basilica

Confession area

While waiting for our tour guide at the square, I bumped into the priest and nun.

From the square, we walked quite a distance to our bus, but at least we managed to have a good view of Vatican City.

Next up on our trip will be out of Vatican City and heading to Rome.


  1. That’s gorgeous! I hope I’ll be able to visit Italy soon, I’ve heard so many great things about it.Amazing pics thanks for sharing :) will visit your site soon..

  2. Amazing blog I just love it Italy is so beautiful :)

  3. What a beautiful site such a treat when you can;t go yourself-wonderful photos ..thanks for much

  4. Amazing architechture :)
    And basilica looks amazing!

  5. Good post! In December, I'll go to Italy!

  6. This article is perfect because I can learn about different cultures seeing those beautiful places, I'd like to be in one of those places.

  7. Italy I have never been not yet anyway. Hope to get talking with the swiss guards assume they speak English as my Swiss not too hot

  8. Amazing pictures, it sure is a fantastic place Vatican City of course, too bad that the people who run it, are so corrupt and do not apply what they teach.

  9. This is a very helpful post; i hope this really helps me to complete my project.