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April 5, 2019

 

Vatican museums, Sistine chapel, St. Peter's Basilica

 

We ended April 5th with a 3 hour private tour of the Vatican. Lou considered this the highlight of the day as he had only seen the Vatican briefly on a previous visit to Rome.  We viewed various works of art dating back 2,100 years. Tapestries roughly 20 feet wide by 12 feet high hung from walls decorating rooms that seemed to be as long as a football field. One statue dated back to the year 100 B.C. We walked on a fresco floor dating back 800 years. The floor was protected by a sheet of plastic that was not discernable. We walked out onto balconies to view many angles of the interior of the Vatican as well as St. Peters.

We wondered where all this wealth came from. Turns out the popes were originally kings and thus royal families. A great deal of the art and gold was donated by the popes and their families.

We wandered into the Sistine chapel to marvel at the works of Michael Angelo. We learned about the period where nudity in artwork was discouraged. Many works of art had to be altered to cover up certain body parts. This includes the work of Michael Angelo. Statues throughout Italy displaying large male gennetalia had those parts cut off. They were not disposed off. Rather they were collected and today are in a storage room in the Vatican. Later on nudity became acceptable again so the work of Michael Angelo was again changed to display as much as was still there;-)

We ended the day at St. Peter's basilica. It is not possible to adequately describe the full size and impact of St. Peter's. Something I find very interesting about St. Peter's is the display of long ago deceased popes. When you enter St. Peter's you will see a pope on the left side of the church. This is a real preserved pope's body. I understand that they change out the pope from time to time. We also noticed near the end of St. Peter's another pope. This being John Paul II. The beauty of St. Peter's and the square is a must see even if you are not Catholic.

 

History: Vatican

Vatican City is an independent city-state enclaved within Rome, Italy. Established with the Lateran Treaty (1929), it is distinct from yet under "full ownership, exclusive dominion, and sovereign authority and jurisdiction" of the Holy See (Latin: Sancta Sedes). With an area of 44 hectares (110 acres), and a population of about 1,000, it is the smallest state in the world by both area and population.
The Vatican City is an ecclesiastical or sacerdotal-monarchical state (a type of theocracy) ruled by the pope who is, religiously speaking, the bishop of Rome and head of the Catholic Church. The highest state functionaries are all Catholic clergy of various national origins. Since the return of the popes from Avignon in 1377, they have generally resided at the Apostolic Palace within what is now Vatican City, although at times residing instead in the Quirinal Palace in Rome or elsewhere.
The Holy See dates back to early Christianity, and is the primate episcopal see of the Catholic Church, with 1.3 billion Catholics around the world distributed in the Latin Church and 23 Eastern Catholic Churches. The independent Vatican City-state, on the other hand, came into existence in 11 February 1929 by the Lateran Treaty between the Holy See and Italy, which spoke of it as a new creation, not as a vestige of the much larger Papal States (7561870), which had previously encompassed much of central Italy.
Within the Vatican City are religious and cultural sites such as St. Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums. They feature some of the world's most famous paintings and sculptures. The unique economy of Vatican City is supported financially by the sale of postage stamps and souvenirs, fees for admission to museums, and sales of publications.

 

 

Rome 2019

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