Sunday, June 06, 2010

St Peter's in early moring light

Nothing compares to photography in early morning light.
This is one of my favorites...

St Peter's Square

  Still in Rome after all these posts...

We were lucky enough to get to St Peter's Square three times. 
First Rick and I ended there on our wandering tour. Next, our 
our guide surprised us with a visit on Palm Sunday to witness 
Pope Benedict XVI say Mass. And finally, in the early morning 
when we would do the postponed tour of the Vatican Museum 
and Sistine Chapel. These are some of my favorite photos from 
he visits...


Statues of 140 Christian martyrs flank the balustrade.


A fountain by Bernini (1675) 

Giant trinitrons just like at sporting events. 
What would these saints think?

But of course, all can see the Pope say Mass.
And this fountain is by Maderno (1613)

A bit farther away

The Sistine Chapel is amazing. no photos are allowed, 
which is OK because the room is dimly lit and  no photo 
that i take could do it justice. This is The Sistine Chapel 
from the square. It is where the Papal conclave occurs 
when the Cardinals are electing a new Pope. It is near 
where the white smoke is seen indicating that a new Pope 
has in fact been elected.

And finally my favorite of the day.
A member of the Swiss guard and a wannabe...

How cute is that.

If you are following my journey, thank you.
Feel free to leave a comment.
I would love to hear from you.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

St Peters Basilica

St Peter's Basilica is perhaps the most beautiful church I have ever been in. It's size is astounding. There are so many side altars and chapels. Numerous popes have been buried here. St Peter, the first Pope (upon this Rock, I will build my church) is buried beneath the main altar.

The entrance doors are large, as one might expect. There is a set of special doors, more ornate than any other, and these are called the Jubilee doors They are only opened during the Jubilee year celebration, which occurs every 25 years.

Looking down the center aisle to the main altar.

And a closer view

Don't you just love the ray of sun shining through the side window.

The most famous statue is Michelangelo Buonarroti's Pieta. In 1972, someone took a hammer to it and so it is now protected, placed behind plexiglass and roped off so that visitors can not get too close. My photo does not do justice to this work. To me one of the most amazing things is that Michelangelo was only 22 when he began this piece. It was completed within a year.

As with every church I saw in Rome, the beauty lies in all of the details.




There is so much to see.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

The Vatican Museum

Journey on and we did. Having purchased tickets for the Vatican Museum online from the states, we gave ourselves away as the total tourists while standing at a map of the Vatican grounds trying to figure out just where we would go to pick them up. A young lady approached and asked if we wanted to participate in an English speaking tour beginning in 15 minutes. Rick and I quickly agreed. It was good money spent. Our tour guide was an American named Steve, from San Diego, living in Italy with a fine arts degree and of course, superb English. He knew just where to go to pick up our tickets and he did. YEAH!

What is not to like about the Vatican Museum except the sheer number of tourists. It was difficult to know whether to look up or down or just around, there is just so much to see. We were lucky because we actually went through the Museum twice. Our tour took us back in an early morning visit which was perfect for some of the photos I have captured here.(No tourist heads. LOL)

Upon entering, the first place you land is the Pigna Courtward, named for a colossal bronze pine cone, which is nearly 13 feet high.

Steps leading to the pine cone sculpture.

The detail of the pedestal supporting the pine cone.

Another spectacular sight is an enormous sphere in the center of the courtyard, sculpted by Arnoldo Pomodoro in 1990.  It rotates with just the slightest touch.

I love this peice, the detail in the hair is amazing. I don't really know how long ago it was done.

And then entering the Museum...
The statuary is exquisite, so rich in detail.

I learned that these statues had been painted way..... back in the day, but the paint had washed away. This is why the eyes do not have detail carved into them. It had been painted on.

The ceilings...
Much of this is fresco, which is a technique that paints directly on wet plaster. It is the reason this art has survived the years.

The ceiling in the Gallery of Maps which really does go on forever.

And finally, I share this really bad photo because the story that goes with is so funny.

This is supposedly Nero's bath tub. It really is huge and fills this large space.
The story goes that Nero had 6 wives. The first three were women, the next two were men and the last one was a horse. What... did he say?