Friday, February 03, 2012

The Vatican and Pope Benedict XVI

Your visit to Rome would not be complete without a visit to The Vatican.  In the Vatican, you can go inside St Peter's Basilica to enjoy the different works of art inside the church.  When you go at the right time, you can also catch a glimpse of the Pope!  And with a little perseverance, you can enter the Vatican Museum and go to the Sistine Chapel to see Michelangelo's masterpieces painted at the chapel's ceiling - the Creation of Adam probably being the most popular.

Can you spot the Pope in this picture? (click on the picture for a larger view)

6 years ago, we were on the same square when we heard Pope John Paul II bless the crowd.  Today, the tradition is being continued by Pope Benedict XVI every Sunday at 12 noon.  After praying the Angelus together, the Pope blesses the crowd that has gathered inside St. Peter's Square in different languages - I recognized a few including English, Spanish, and Italian.  (In 2006, Pope John Paul II I think even greeted the crown in Tagalog, if my memory serves me right.) (More pictures after the jump)

The Pope comes out from the 2nd window from the right where a red banner has been laid out.  I believe this is where the Pope resides.  On this day, Pope Benedict XVI also released a dove from his window but the dove seems to love the Papal residence and so it kept coming back in his room.  

When we went in 2006, we had to queue for about an hour outside the square just to be able to get in St. Peter's Basilica.  This time around, the square was deserted and even when we went around 10am already, we were able to get in right away.  

Inside you can see the Piety - famous sculpture by Michelangelo.

Like most churches we went to in Rome, the basilica also had it's own version of Jesus' Nativity scene.

And here beautiful Angels hold the basin that carries the holy water.

On your way out, watch out for the Swiss guards that still watches over the city.

And the men in black at the square that are more than willing to pose with you for pictures ^^

If you're extremely lucky, you'll chance upon celebrities like Coco Martin buying a huge silver crucifix at one of the souvenir shops.

Another group spotted newlyweds Shalani Soledad and Congressman Roman Romulo eating Gelato in one of the oldest Gelateria (il Gelato di San Crispino? if yes, then it's probably the same gelato shop mentioned in Eat, Pray, Love) near the Vatican.

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