Monday, December 12, 2011

Postcard Worthy: St. Peter's Basilica

The Vatican Museums is just one metro stop away from St. Peter's Basilica (Basilica Sancti Petri). St. Peter's Basilica is regarded as one of the iconic Catholic site. 

I almost didn’t go to St. Peter's Basilica because:
  • I wasn’t really up to the challenge of climbing another tower
  • The Italian sun was so unforgiving. It was very tiring to walk.
  • I felt that I lacked time to pack – I was flying out the next day and I haven’t done any shopping.
  • I had to find LBC in Rome. I planned to ship some stuff back home before I fly out to Paris. Else, I am in grave risk of paying the painful extra baggage fees, again.
  • I had an empty stomach and I wasn’t ready to conquer the rest of Vatican
  • I wanted to use my ticket to visit the Palantine Hill and enter the Roman Forum again before I meet someone for dinner
But what is a trip to the Vatican City if I wouldn’t see where the Papal Event is being held? I was almost ready to get a table at the nearest restaurant outside the Vatican Museum. Nevermind that it was swarmed with a bunch of other tourists (a serious red flag on food quality). I was tired and hungry, which results to being cranky. Good thing I was alone so I was the only one who felt the wrath of my own crankiness.

I aimlessly followed the footsteps of the crowd. I saw this street warmed with people eating pizza. There is this amazing hole-in-the-wall pizza place.

No tables needed. Everyone just eats in the street.

The pizza was just around €1.50 per slice. It actually didn’t cost per slice but by kilogram. They weight the pizza before billing you.

Cheap and yummy. Sold!
Although I still had the phlegm-caused-by-excessive-gelato-eating-syndrome, I still had coke with the pizza. I sat on the street and ate my pizza.

I followed the crowd which eventually led me to my destination.There was this long queue. It was just past lunch so the sun is shining mighty high up there. I have no idea why I didn't check if I could buy tickets online.

I immediately went to queue to climb the Cupola. There is an option to just climb it in stairs instead of using the elevator. Heck, no. I gladly paid €7 for the elevator (compared to €5 for climbing the steps). Endless lines. There are lines for: 
1) Entering St. Peter's Basilica
2) Buying tickets to climb the Cupola
3) Using the elevator

But the elevator can only take you so far. You still have to climb 320 steps.


In some parts, the stairs are so narrow that you cannot overtake any person. If someone in front of you stops to catch his breath, the whole line stops. And you feel the person behind you breathing down your neck. A warning for the claustrophobics out there.
You go out. And them you climb some more stairs stairs stairs

More lines. More waiting.

The view on top is always a reward. Visiting towers can be exhausting but the view is refreshing from all the paintings and sculptures.

Postcard-worthy. I could still see that line of people waiting to get inside. I wasn't really looking forward to going back out and being toasted again.

Elaborate dome ceiling

Five languages for "Exit"
In Italian, French, English, German and Spanish.
The basilica is HUGE.

There are those lovely ceilings again.

I wish we also had some elaborate churches in the Philippines. Being a dominantly Catholic country, I believe some people would love to hear mass on nice churches. And think of all the showbiz/political weddings that could be held if there is such a church.
I love how the light rays were captured here

Swiss guards in their official uniform. There were these nice "matipuno" guys in this uniform. Hahaha.
The Swiss guards in costume. Everyone was taking pics.

I didn't have a picture with the Basilica in the background yet because I fell in line and postponed the picture taking once I finished touring the place. I asked one lady to take a photo of me, she took my camera, and just looked at it. She called her husband. Her husband called his son  - who looked about 10 years old. They gave my camera to their son, and he took my photo. 

Gah. Stiff pose. The purple camera case lands in St. Peter's Basilica.

I recall that the movie Angels and Demons had a scene in St. Peter's. After some research, I discovered that the scenes were actually shot in a studio, and not here.

I looked at the map. Castel Sant' Angelo was just a couple of blocks away. I debated whether I should go for the Palantine Hill of the Castel - it was past 3pm. I decided to check out the castle first. 

The line wasn't actually that long. But given the size of the place, it would probably take me time to look at the whole thing. I can breeze through it but that wouldn't give the place justice; And I wouldn't get my money's worth.

I just took the some pics of the place.

I went to the tourist information center and asked how I could get back to Termini Station (and ultimately the Colosseum again). It was just one bus ride away for  €1.

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