Tuesday, March 27, 2007

The Vatican

I went on a tour of the Vatican with a tour company called Romeing Tours and thought the information provided was quite thorough and insightful. We stood in line for around 45 minutes to get in but I made good use of the time by picking the tour guide's brain on Roman combat strategies. The Vatican is around 100 acres and is actually it's own country with approximately 550 citizens. The Vatican City is said to have one of the most reliable postal systems in the world. I mailed a post card to try it out and it successfully reached its destination.

The parts of the Vatican that I saw included some nice architecture, great examples of art which culminated with the Sistine Chapel as well as the magnificent St. Peter's Basilica. Several pope's lie are buried there with a few being embalmed or bronzed for the viewing public.

On Sunday, I went back to the Vatican at noon where the Pope gave a blessing to all in attendance in something like 12 languages. There was a massive number of people there, similar to a crowd at a football or basketball game. I could see the pope but he was but a small spec far off in the window he stood in to address us.

The Vatican is guarded by a group of 100 Swiss guards who are trained to kill with a battle ax and sword. I didn't see the battle ax but they were definitely armed with swords. Swiss guards must be Catholic, single, between the ages of approximately 20 and 30, male, have Swiss citizenship, and be fluent in 5 languages. Their uniforms are a bit court jesteresqe in appearance.

The Pope Giving a Blessing

St. Peter's Square during Pope's blessing

St. Peter's Basilica

Andrew in St. Peters Basilica

Pietra sculpture

Pope Innocent XI

Nero's Bathtub

Vatican Paintings

Swiss Guards

Pope's Throne

St. Peter's Basilica Dome

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