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Monday, November 14, 2005

Rome - Day 4

It's another early start to make it to St Peters - it's only a short wait until we get inside.


La Pieta - there are many copies but this is the original. Michelangelo was only 24 when he carved this masterpiece. It sits behind a massive panel of glass.

dome ceiling

Written on the frieze of the south wall of the nave, text taken from the gospel of St Luke:
I have prayed for you Peter that your faith my never fail and you in turn must strengthen your brothers


On the North wall, the text is taken from the gospel of St Matthew:
I will entrust to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you declare bound on earth shall be bound in heaven and whatever you declare loosed on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

holy water bowl

Located on the nave, a vessel for holy water.



Circling the base of the dome are the words from St Matthew's Gospel, where Jesus speaks to Peter and say "Tu es Petrus et super hac petram aedificabo ecclesiam mean et tibi dabo claves regni caelorum" - You are the Rock and on this rock I will build my Church, to you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven.

pio x altar of the transfiguration

Left: Monument to St Pius X - his body is under the under the altar in the Presentation Chapel. Pope Pius X was always quite an important figure in my household as he was born in my fathers village, the municipality of which was subsequently named Riese Pio X.

Right: Altar of the Transfiguration, painting by Raphael (1520)



Pius VIII St Gregory the Great Pius VII

Left: Monument to Pius VIII - the pope is shown kneeling before Christ with Sts Peter and Paul and His side.

Centre: Altar of St Gregory the Great - St Gregory is buried underneath the altar and his name lives on in Gregorian chants.

Right: Monument to Pius VII - the pope is flanked by two angels and standing by the portal are Divine Fortitude (on the left) and Wisdom (on the right)


Papal Altar - the canopy (Baldacchino) is 95ft high and created by Bernini. St Peter's tomb sits under the altar.


Inside the Baldacchino at its centre is a dove, which symbolises the Holy Spirit - it is surrounded by golden rays.

dome dome

The Dome of St Peter's stands above the Baldacchino - it has a perimeter of 71 meters and is 120 meters from the ground.

baldacchino and nave

The Baldacchino - looking towards the church entrance

cathedra petri Cathedra Petri

Cathedra Petri - Altar of the Chair of St Peter
The text on the frieze is written on the left in Latin and on the right in Greek and says: O Pastor Ecclesiae, tu omnes Christi pascis agnos et oves - O pastor of the Church, you feed all Christ's lambs and sheep.

St Lucia Filippini

Statue of St Lucia Filippini

St Longinus Pius XII St Helen

Left: St Longinus - was the centurion who stabbed Christ during his crucifixion and subsequently converted. He is shown holding the lance.

Centre: Monument to Pius XII

Right: St Helen - she was Emperor Constantine's mother. During a pilgrimage to the Holy land she discovered the True Cross, which she is shown holding. The relic is now held in St Peter's.

st andrew

The Statue of St Andrew is found at the entrance to the grottoes. He was the brother of St Peter and was crucified on a X shaped cross.


One final view of this grand church - inside and outside

outside st peters

Our next stop is the Vatican Museum - I think the queue is always long here but since this is our last day in Rome we didn't have much of a choice but to wait.

Once we entered we decided to try to get to the Sistine chapel as quickly as possible - in hindsight it was probably the wrong thing to do as we rushed past many artefacts and works of art rather than take our time to savour them.

You do get some good views of Rome - even though it's a bit smoggy




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Gallery of Maps

The Gallery of Maps - beyond the beautiful ceiling, the gallery is frescoed with 40 maps showing Catholic lands and important cities. Painted between 1580-1585 by various artists under the supervision of famed geographer Ignazio Santi.

Gallery of Maps

This gives you an idea of the crowd we've been perpetually behind - it's painful trying to get a photo without people in it.

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After what seemed like forever we finally reached the Sistine Chapel and it was not a very pleasant environment. All those signs requesting silence and a respectful attitude were totally ignored - between the noise and the flashes you'd think you were in a night-club. The guards were hopelessly outnumbered and ignored when they tried to do something.

Sistine Chapel

Sistine Chapel

Sistine Chapel

It was a disappointment to find such disrespect and it meant that it was impossible to actually take in the beauty of the chapel. After having taken so long to get here, we left quite quickly.


We return to last night's wine bar


and Paalo is so famished he could eat a horse - and indeed he did!

Look away, you may not want to see Paalo's Cavallo Carpaccio (Horse Carpaccio - yes, it wasn't just horse, it was raw horse)

horse carpaccio

I had the rather more politically correct Swordfish Carpaccio

swordfish carpaccio

just look at those beautiful slices of fish


I will spare those sensitive types the close up of Paalo's dish.


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