[Travel Diary #2] Vatican City – A worthy visit to the Holy See

Welcome to our second Europe trip, which we spent eight days to visit Rome, Vatican, Malta and Austria.

This time, I will not structure my post as daily reports but place-related posts. And the first destination I choose is Vatican City.

St. Peter’s Square at 6:45 am–Image courtesy of the author

Although the first place we visited was not Vatican City, I still choose this place for the first post. Daisy and I are non-religious persons, but when we visited Vatican City, we felt the peace inside our soul. One more reason is that we are both Dan Brown’s fan, and we are impressed by the Angels and Demons by him. There is an inspiration inside to motivate us to visit Vatican City at any cost.

Vatican City has always been a tourist-attracted place. Many tourists were visiting this site each year. Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Vatican City was very much quieter when we visited.

To visit Vatican City, you can have two options: by bus or by metro. If you choose bus, the bus will stop at the Cavalleggeri/S. Pietro bus stop, and then you can walk to the the entrance of the St. Peter’s Square and the St. Peter’s Basilica in about five minutes. If you choose to use metro, you may need to take a longer time of walking from the Ottaviano metro station to get to the Vatican City.

That was an amazing and memorable trip to the smallest country in the world. We came there early to enjoy the atmosphere of the early morning at the St. Peter’s Square and the St. Peter’s Basilica. Peacefulness was the feeling we had. Because the St. Peter’s Basilica does not require an entrance fee to visit, there is usually a long queue waiting to visit it. Therefore, we decided to visit the St. Peter’s Basilica in the early morning to avoid waiting too long to get inside. That was 7:00 am, and it was an excellent decision because, not long later, many people came and waited outside the Basilica.

The St. Peter’s Square was constructed during the 17th century. Gian Lorenzo Bernini was the one who designed the St. Peter’s Square. When you visit here, you will be surprised by the breath-taking view of the square. In the center of St. Peter’s Square, there is one obelisk brought from Egypt to Rome in the 16th century, and two granite fountains, one created by Bernini and the other by Carlo Maderno. On the sides of the square, there are 284 columns and 88 pilasters. Above of columns, we can see 140 over-life size statues of saints created in 1670 by Bernini.

St. Peter’s Square and St. Peter’s Basilica from the outside–Image courtesy of the author
A granite fountain and the Egyptian obelisk in the St. Peter’s Square–Image courtesy of the author
A closer look of the St. Peter’s Basilica from outside–Image courtesy of the author
View of the St. Peter’s Square from the entrance of the St. Peter’s Basilica–Image courtesy of the author

The St. Peter’s Basilica has two parts for visitors to choose: the inside of the Basilica and its Dome. As said, there is no entrance fee for visiting inside the Basilica. However, if you want to visit the Dome of the Basilica, you need to buy a ticket a the price of €8 per person (for only climbing stairs) or €10 per person (for a combination of using elevator and climbing stairs). We chose the latter option because it should be better if we climb less. Nevertheless, it was still a challenge to climb because you still have to climb about 250 steps. And, in some parts, you have to lean along the wall, and you cannot walk in the usual way.

Tickets to climb the Dome of the St. Peter’s Basilica–Image courtesy of the author
Outside the way to the Dome–Image courtesy of the author
Half way to the Dome and you can see this beautiful work–Image courtesy of the author

From the Dome, we could a fantastic bird’s eye view of the St. Peter’s Square, the Vatican Museum and the Vatican garden. We could also see the whole of Rome from here. A peaceful view on a quiet morning.

A bird’s eye view of the St. Peter’s Square–Image courtesy of the author
Another view from the Dome–Image courtesy of the author

On the way down, we stopped by a rooftop where we could get closer to see the statues of the Christ and his Apostles on the top of the Basilica.

Statues of the Christ and his Apostles–Image courtesy of the author
The Dome looked from the rooftop–Image courtesy of the author

Going down from the Dome, we spent around one hour inside the Basilica. The inside of the St. Peter’s Basilica is larger than any other churches or cathedrals that we visited. Everything inside was fantastic and exceeded our expectation. The architecture, the statues, the decoration and the arrangement created a unique atmosphere inside the Basilica. We were jaw-dropping because of the beauty of the monument.

The main hall of the Basilica–Image courtesy of the author
Saint Longinus sculpture–Image courtesy of the author
Statue of Saint Andrew–Image courtesy of the author
Monument to Pius VIII by Pietro Tenerani (1866)–Image courtesy of the author
A painting inside the Basilica–Image courtesy of the author
Pietà, a famous sculpture by Michelangelo–Image courtesy of the author

We also visited the Tombs of Popes located underground of the Basilica. We were not allowed to take photos or film there, but you should visit there to see the place where Popes rested in peace.

We continued the journey to the Vatican Museum. It was a 10-minute walk from St. Peter’s Square. To get inside, you need to buy tickets online via this link. The Vatican Museum Ticket price for adults is €17 per person, which allows you to visit Vatican Museum, Raphael’s Rooms, where Raphael, the famous Italian artists, and his school spent years to decorate, and at the end of the route, the Sistine Chapel. Tourists also have other options to buy different types of tickets, for example, to visit the Vatican Garden or Hidden Vatican Museum.

View of from the second floor of the Vatican Museum–Image courtesy of the author

The Vatican Museum was the place exhibiting items, articles, works of art collected or acquired by Popes, or gifts from artists to Popes and the Vatican City. There are several galleries inside the museum, from Egyptian archaeological items to the collections of classical sculpture.

Egyptian items, including mummies–Image courtesy of the author
The Belvedere Torso, the most admired ancient sculpture by artists–Image courtesy of the author
A collection in the museum–Image courtesy of the author
The Vision of the Cross, a part of the artworks in the Room of Constantine that was decorated by the school of Raphael–Image courtesy of the author
School of Athens, a part of the wall paintings in the Room of the Segnatura–Image courtesy of the author

The special thing of the Vatican museum was that many famous artists participated in designing it. It took years for them to finish a room or corridor of the Vatican museum, and their artworks were unbelievable. I never stopped admiring their creativeness, their talent to create those works of art.

The masterpiece in the Gallery of Maps–Image courtesy of the author
Beautiful ceiling–Image courtesy of the author

At the end of the Vatican Museum, as I mentioned, it is the Sistine Chapel. We were not allowed to take photos there. The Sistine Chapel is the Pope’s chapel, where principal ceremonies were held and where a new Pope is elected. A brief description about the inner of the Sistine Chapel: it was a combination of many frescoes, paintings and decoration on ceiling and walls of the Sistine Chapel. Many different artists finished those piece of arts from the 15th century. The symbolic works inside the Sistine Chapel belonged to Michelangelo while he painted the ceiling of the chapel and the Last Judgement on the altar wall.

A hall on the way out of the museum–Image courtesy of the author
The way out–Image courtesy of the author

Visiting Vatican City was another of our dream came true. We have waited for this chance for a long time. For me, Vatican City was the most impressive place I have visited.

We have made a new video for our visit to Vatican City. You can check it out here.

That was my first post for the second Europe trip. See you in the next post when I talked about our visit to Rome, the capital of Italy.


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