Sunday, November 15, 2009

Roma, day 4

On our final day in Rome we decided that we must go to see the Vatican Museum and St. Peter's Basilica. We had heard that the lines to enter the Vatican can be extremely long, so we went at 9 AM to make sure we would wait a long time with everyone else. (When we left several hours later, the line was completely gone and there was no wait to get inside.) We were all funneled through an organized system of rooms, each one seemingly grander than the previous. Above is the long hall of the Map Room, where the most current maps of the Vatican's possessions in the 1580's were painted for ligurstical reasons.

Many of the paintings through the rooms illustrated particular important events in the rise of the imperial power of the Catholics through Europe. Here we see the crowning of Townsend-family relative Charlemagne in 800 A.D. in St. Peter's as the first Holy Roman Emperor, which served to cement his duty to protect the Pope.

We eventually ended up in the incredibly tall Sistine Chapel, which Michelangelo painted many of this masterpieces. Though there were many guards swarming the place forbidding pictures be taken, I was able to slyfully take this blurry photo.

After the Vatican museum, and walking through the treasury where they have locked up so many holy relics (including St. Luke's skull!) from being mercifully dispensed throughout the world to spread their incredible healing powers, we headed over to St. Peter's Basilica.

This humongous temple (it can hold about 60,000 people) is built on the sight of the bones of St. Peter, who is recognized as the very first pope. In the picture above you can see a bronze statue of St. Peter holding the keys to heaven. Supposedly you rub the foot and kiss your hand to win favor. Let's see what happens since I did not get a chance to rub the foot.

In its present form, construction of the church was started in 1506, but before that there had been many other churches since the 4th century. In fact, to partially fund the building of this church the Catholics began to sell indulgences in the 16th century, which led to some controversy, a splitting of Europe, the founding of the American colonies, and so on. Things have never been the same!

No comments:

Post a Comment