June 21, 2011

The Awe of Vatican City

The Vatican and St. Peter's Basilica.  Home of the Pope and origin of the Catholic faith.
Did you know it is its own country?  The history that has taken place, right here in this piazza, is mindblowing. Kings, rulers, both made and broken.  Oh, if stones could talk!

This was the walkway OUTSIDE.  We stood for a few minutes waiting to enter, struggling to take in the intricacies of the ceiling.....breathtaking......

The Pieta (which means Piety) by Michelangelo greeted us we stepped inside St. Peter's  After catching my breath at what I was beholding with my own eyes, the most famous of cathedrals,  I found her.  I could have gazed at this work for days and not taken it all in.  It is housed behind glass, so the photo is not the best and doesn't do it justice.  It is incredible. I guess I can relate to Mary's tenderness as she holds her limp Son.  It looks so real.  You can see the veins on His feet and just feel her brokenness.  Can't you just sense her thoughts as she questions the Master Plan?  Don't we all?  Don't we question and argue with the Master and really, we just can't see the end of the story?  We aren't seated high enough to see the big picture.

These few photos of St. Peter's are just a poor substitute of being there.  We tore ourselves away and ventured outside, down the street and around the corner to find the Sistine Chapel.

Ok.  Here it is.
After following the maze of signs and endless, nondescript corridors, the visitor finally happens upon the Sistine Chapel.

And, compared to the grand St. Peter's, it is but a chapel in regard to size. Surprising!  I had heard that photos were forbidden, but upon entering, we found a whole room full of photo-snapping tourists.  Flashes and all.  No one said anything (until we were about to leave), but I did turn off my flash so as not to personally contribute to the demise of this great work.

The various scenes that Michelangelo depicted are all the Biblical stories, beginning with Creation.
This has to be my favorite.  God reaching for Adam.  Stretching toward him.  Yearning for his fellowship.  And Adam is just a little nonchalant. 
A little convicting.

The Comedian hams it up and I find it funny to watch people stare at the ceiling.  The Dad and the oldest share a downloaded podcast explaining the history of it.  The 9 Euros spent here sure beat the 150 (Euros = $225 American) we could have forked over for a tour for 6.

Hundreds of  people jam into the chapel and, fittingly, no pews or chairs fill its space, I'm sure, to allow more room for bodies. All gaping overhead. 
No one looks at the floor.  I felt sorry for it, as it was also beautifully interesting with intricate tilework.  So I thought I'd show it to you as well.

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