Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica

30 March 2006
We started our day in the heart of the former empire by touring the Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. The odd part of the tour was that you were more aware of the creations of some of the world’s most famous artists (Michelangelo, Rafael and Bernini) than you were of being at the center of Christianity for most of the past two millennia – Jenni, you would have loved it. The paintings on the ceiling of the Sistine were amazing. As usual, I wish we had had more time to just sit and soak it in. Our pace today was pretty brisk and I felt rushed most of the time.

I’m usually not that impressed with churches, but I have to admit that standing in the largest church in the world was impressive. The Basilica of St. Peter is two football fields long inside and you just feel dwarfed by the size of the whole thing. The Greek and Latin writing that runs around the top of the walls near the ceiling has to be three or four feet high because it looks large from the ground and has to be 30 feet off the floor.

Michelangelo’s sculpture of Jesus and Mary was incredible to see. If I understood our tour guide correctly, it is carved out of one piece of marble – not an easy feat. It was worth seeing for its artistic value, but I can’t say that it moved me on a deep level. I suppose I don’t have the eye for art that others do. Maybe if I’d spent more time there it would have sunk in a little more. I’ll stay longer next time.


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