Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Visiting the Vatican (but not the Pope)...

We had read in the tour books that the Pope speaks to the congregations in St. Peter's Square on Wednesday mornings during the summer. We tried to look up the exact time, it was either 10:00 a.m. or 10:30 a.m., but it wasn't very clear. So, we decided to be there at 8:00 a.m. and thought we would make it with plenty of time. We expected there to be a large crowd, but as you can see behind me, there were hardly any people waiting in the square. We tried to find a line somewhere, but couldn't find anything. We finally asked someone. They looked at us with terrible disgust and said, "The Pope is on Holiday!" I am pretty sure that we were the only people in all of Rome that day that didn't know he was on Holiday. Mormons in Rome.

St. Peter's square was really grand. It wasn't as large as it seems in the pictures I had seen. I've remembered seeing the square filled with thousands while waiting for the news on a new Pope. The buildings, especially the Basilica, are really stunning. It was fun to be there on a quiet morning (the pictures that have more people were taken after we came out of the museum, but we were almost by ourselves when we arrived).

Now there are some interesting uniforms that you have to wear for your job. The Footlocker people, the Hot Dog on a Stick folks, Target's red shirts and tan pants; there are many things that I would hesitate wearing. However, these guys win the prize. They are the guards at the Vatican. I don't know if the criminals even take them seriously.

I mailed the kids a post card from the Vatican post office. I thought it would be cool. They received it while I was still in Italy and they had it on the wall. I emailed this picture to them to show me mailing it and Rick taped it to the wall next to the post card. Harrison missed me the most. One night, Rick came out in the hallway (the kids had been in bed) and found Harrison holding the post card and touching my picture. He said that he really missed me. Isn't that sweet? The other kids hardly knew I was gone. They were having way too much fun eating sugar cereal, playing video games all day and watching things I would never allow!

We went inside St. Peter's Basilica. It was magnificent. This is actually a photograph that was taken by Elder Sponseller. He is a nice Elder from the Rome mission and was so excited to show us this picture he took of the Basilica with the Tiber River in front.

This is a marvelous baldacchino, a pavilion-like structure that measures about 98 feet tall and claimed to be the largest piece of bronze in the world. Bernini sculpted it. Underneath the baldacchino is believed to be the burial place of Peter. The Popes are also buried there.

The main dome of the basilica was originally designed by Michelangelo, but completed by someone else. It is just amazing to see.

I loved how the light would shine in all of the windows. There were all these pillars of light; I was glad my camera was cooperating enough to capture one.

And, this is what I have wanted to see for a very long time. The star of the Basilica, at least in my mind. Michelangelo's Pieta (which means "pity"). It is one of his most famous statues. It was so much more beautiful than this picture.


Anonymous said...

I served in Prato back in 1975-76. I loved Nino DeRobertis and never met anyone who could sketch freehand portraits as well as he. Those photographs and people brought back deep joy and fond memories. If anyone gets back there again tell Nino that Eric Selin says hello. ...If he remembers that far back.