04 June 2017

2016 ITALY Vatican 14 - Views Outside the Vatican

Occasionally on our walking tour of the Vatican, there was an open window. No screen. You could peek at outside gardens and other spaces around the complex. It looked like some of these were open to the public, but our group didn't venture into most of them.

 Private Vatican vehicle parking lot.

At one point we did walk outside to get from one building to another. More sculpture. This is the "famous" bronze pine cone. It originally decorated a fountain near the ancient Temple of Isis.
There were many walls with carved out niches filled with sculpted heads or torsos. Not sure who this is.
Before exiting the buildings, we passed this loooong lonely, undecorated passage. I wondered where it led. See the person about half way down.
Our last stop at the Vatican was Saint Peter's Square. This is the place where thousands of people gather for Sunday and other services. This pix faces Saint Peter's Basilica with rows and rows of chairs ready to get some religion. At its max it has held over 300,000 people.

The balcony under the center "peak" is where the Pope speaks to the audience from.

Reaching out from each side of the basilica are two colonnades built with massive Tuscan columns four deep. They represent "the embracing maternal arms of Mother Church." Some 140 statues of the saints are arranged along the top. Look here to see what saints are represented: http://stpetersbasilica.info/Exterior/Colonnades/Saints-List-Colonnades.htm

I understand that behind the right colonnade are the Pope's personal living quarters.
At the center of the square is a tall Egyptian obelisk. It marks the place where Saint Peter way martyred. It was originally constructed in Egypt and brought to Roma in 1586, about 100 years before the square was designed by Bernini (boy, this guy was everywhere). It is 135 feet (41m) tall to the top of the cross. This is also the site for a huge Christmas tree erected and decorated with white lights each holiday season.
A statue of Saint Peter is also in the square. Saint Peter, by the way, was considered the first pope. The line runs from God to Moses to Jesus to Peter.
Here's Saint Mike sitting at the base of a colonnade column, so happy this part of the tour is over. It was warm and oh so crowded. A relief to get out into the fresh air again and be able to rest our feet.

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