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Vatican City

Curious what backpackers do in Vatican City? Discover travel destinations all over the world of travelers writing a travel blog on FindPenguins.
  • Day3

    Monday, May 29, 2017

    In the spring of 1509, just two years after a mapmaker coined the word “America” in honor of the explorer Amerigo Vespucci, a fellow Florentine named Buonarotti was beginning to work on one of the defining masterpieces of Western Civilization. His first name—Michelangelo—would also reverberate through the ages. And, like many of the early transatlantic voyages of discovery, his ceiling frescoes in Rome’s Sistine Chapel had gotten off to a terrible start.

    “He was working on the largest multi-figure compositions of the entire ceiling when the actual fresco plaster itself became infected by a kind of lime mold, which is like a great bloom of fungus,” says Andrew Graham-Dixon, chief art critic for London’s Sunday Telegraph. “So he had to chip the whole thing back to zero and start again. Eventually he sped up. He got better.”

    However difficult the conditions—and even the challenge of painting at a height of 65 feet required considerable ingenuity, with scaffolds and platforms slotted into specially fashioned wall openings—by the time Michelangelo unveiled the work in 1512, he had succeeded in creating a transcendent work of genius, one which continues to inspire millions of pilgrims and tourists in Vatican City each year. The Sistine Chapel holds a central place in Christendom as the private chapel of the pope and the site of the papal enclave, where the College of Cardinals gathers to elect new popes.

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  • Day3

    Monday, May 29, 2017
    Saint Peter's Basilica, the world's largest church, is the center of Christianity. The imposing structure was built over a span of more than one hundred years by the greatest Italian architects of the era.

    The church is built on Vatican Hill, across the Tiber river from the historic center of Rome. The location is highly symbolic: this was the site where Saint Peter, the chief apostle, died a martyr and where he was buried in 64 AD. St. Peter is considered the first pope, so it made perfect sense for the papacy to build the principal shrine of the Catholic church here.

    The First Basilica
    In the early fourth century Emperor Constantine, the first Christian emperor of Rome, decided to build a basilica on Vatican Hill at the site of small shrine that marked the likely location of the tomb of St. Peter. Construction of the basilica started between 319 and 322. It was consecrated in 326 AD and finally completed around 349 AD. To facilitate the construction, a part of the terrain was leveled and the necropolis where St. Peter was originally buried was demolished.

    The basilica had an eighty-five meter (279 ft) long nave with four aisles and a spacious atrium with a central cantharus (fountain), enclosed by a colonnade. A bell tower stood at the front of the atrium. Visitors entered the atrium through a triple-arched portico.

    The New St. Peter's Basilica
    In the middle of the fifteenth century, the basilica was falling into ruin and pope Nicolas V ordered the restoration and enlargement of the church after plans by Bernardo Rossellino. After Nicolas V died, works were halted.

    No progress was made for half a century until pope Julius II decided to build a completely new church. He appointed Donato Bramante as chief architect. Bramante designed a structure with a high dome on a Greek cross plan (all sides have equal lengths). In 1506 Julius II laid the first stone of the new basilica which was to become the largest in the world.

    After Bramante's death in 1514 he was succeeded by a number of different architects, all of whom made changes to the design, most notably Michelangelo Buonarroti, who became chief architect in 1547 at the age of seventy-two. He conceived the imposing dome and made further alterations to the plans.

    At the time of Michelangelo's death in 1564 only the drum of the dome was built. The dome was finally completed in 1590 by Giacomo della Porta. On request of pope Paul V the imposing edifice was extended further into a true Latin cross plan by Carlo Maderno, who completed the main facade in 1614. The church was finally reconsecrated in 1626 by pope Urban VIII, exactly 1300 years after the consecration of the first church.
    Ever since, the St. Peter's Basilica has been the center of Christianity, drawing pilgrims and tourists from all over the world.
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  • Day3

    Monday, May 29, 2017
    a grandiose elliptical esplanade created in the mid seventeenth century by Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The square is bordered by massive colonnades that symbolize outstretched arms. Bernini and his assistants sculpted the 140 statues of saints that grace the balustrades on the colonnades. The square is decorated with fountains and an Egyptian obelisk that was transported to Rome in 37 AD.

    The view of St. Peter's Basilica from the square is unfortunately a bit disappointing; the result of the enlargement of the church carried out by Carlo Maderno, which partly obscures Michelangelo's dome.
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  • Day106

    Nach dem Pantheon hatten wir einen kurzen Besuch im Vatikan, haben den Petersdom aber nicht betreten. Unmengen an Menschen und eine Wartezeit von ehrlichen 2h waren uns dann doch etwas zu viel. 🤣

    Die Spanische Treppe dürfte natürlich an unserem Rom-Tag auch nicht fehlen. 😀

  • Day4

    Péntek délelőttre volt foglalasunk 9:30ra a Vatikán múzeumba. Jó ötlet volt a foglalás mert megint villámgyorsan haladtunk a rettenetesen hosszú sor mellett. A foglalással a múzeumba gyorsan bejutottunk. Nem mondom h vegigneztunk mindent, de egész sok mindent láttunk a benti kiállításbol. És megkuzdottunk a vezetett túrák hadával is, igaz ez foleg a keleti térségből érkező turista csoportokra, akik mindeb lényegtelen dolgot is fenykepeznek. A muzeum, egy kávé és nemi harapni való után atsetaltunk a bazilika előtti térre és be álltunk a hosszu sorba, ami szinten skippelheto ha valakinek nagyon nincs ideje vagy több felesleges eurója van, azt hiszen fejenkent 15-16 euróért megteheti. Mi most kivartuk a sort, nem volt vészes, nyáron 40 fokban valószínű kegyetlen lett volna, de így a napsütésben kifejezetten kellemes volt. A bazilika meg mindig nagyon szép, megeriba sort kivárni, plusz elmentünk a pápák temetkezesi helyére is, de a kuplaba a sort már nem tudtuk kivárni, az több órás várakozást jelentett volna, addigra már sok volt belőle. A Vatikán után irányba vettuk az Angyalvarat, de előtte az utca végében megalltunk valami gyorskajaldaba mert már éhesek voltunk. De sajnos eleg átlagos volt a kaja is és rendkivul sokat fizettünk érte Uh senkinek nem ajánlom a térrel szembeni utca végében található kajaldat. Akármennyire éhes valaki, inkább menjen kicsit tovább.Read more

  • Day5

    Da wir heute, bevor es nach San Marino geht, noch ein wenig Zeit haben, fahren wir nach dem Frühstück nochmal ins Centrum von Rom.
    Noch schnell einen weiteren Länderpunkt machen und einen kurzen Abstecher in den Vatikan :-)
    Ganz schick da alles!

  • Day21

    Vatican City is it's own country, the smallest in the world, and entirely within the city of Rome! I have a separate entry to add it to the country count. The country itself has only about 850 residents and they all work at the Vatican - essentially Catholic clergy or Swiss Guards.

    The rest of the Vatican comets are in the Rome posting.

  • Day29

    Today we drove from Caserta to Rome. Quite the experience. Drivers in Rome are no doubt the rudest in the world.

    After driving round and round we eventually found the Avis drop off, very cunningly disguised as a multi storey carpark. Very glad to be rid of the thing and looking forward to exploring Rome!

  • Day77

    Breaking this up into a separate post because there was lots to see!
    After getting through the security check and the clothes-etiquette check (slightly worrying because I had shorts on, instead of pants as recommended) we made it in and decided to go inside the Basilica before climbing the dome.

    Again, wow, what a gigantic impressive building!
    Very pretty though not as ornate as some other churches I've been to - probably because detail would get lost in this huge expanse. Again it doesn't feel as vast and imposing as it really is - Rick Steves explains that many features inside help it feel a bit more intimate, like the statues further up columns actually being larger than the closer ones and the altar canopy (#4, with nice God-rays behind) filling some of the vertical space.

    Among the many amazing sculptures was Michelangelo's Pietà (#5), and one I took a really terrible photo of, that turned out to be the Tomb of Pope Alexander VII ( - I love the way the stone looks so much like cloth.

    And I took a pretty sweet photo sphere that is now viewable only on my phone because Google removed the web viewer, grrr :{
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  • Day26

    We tried to book a tour for Vatican City but shortly later got an email saying that it wasn't available. But we'd learnt that we'd probably be able to get a decent tour if we just went to the entrance as there were so many guides asking if we wanted to go on a tour the day before. On arrival a nice enough looking man, english wasn't flash, asked if we'd like to go on a tour, then he pulled out his brochure and showed us the route/prices. He turned around for a second and Nick says "Seems legit, he's got a brochure." and with that the decision was made to go. He should've told us "I'm just going to take you to the tour group at our office.". Instead he just said "You come with me." and started walking. It got a bit weird for a minute as we followed him away from the entrance for about a block but we were relieved when we met up with a tour group and a well spoken lady giving the tour. Again, another amazing tourist site with so much to look at. The highlight was the Sistine Chapel, I found it interesting that Michael Angelo almost went blind painting it due to his stance and the paint falling into his eyes. No wonder he depicted himself as an elderly man skinned alive!

    Afterwards we drove to our next destination in Tuscany, San Gimignano. Nick is really getting in to Italian driving!
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You might also know this place by the following names:

State of the Vatican City, Staat der Vatikanstadt, Vatican City, Vatikaan, Vatican Man, ቫቲካን, الفاتيكان, Vatikan, Ватыкан, Ватикана, Vatikaŋ, ভ্যাটিকান সিটি, ཝེ་ཊི་ཀན།, Ciutat del Vaticà, Vatikán, Y Fatican, Pavestolen (Vatikanstaten), Vatikandu nutome, Βατικανό, Vatikano, Ciudad del Vaticano, Vatikano Hiria, واتیکان, Dowla Waticaan, Vatikaanivaltio, Vatican, An Vatacáin, Cidade do Vaticano, વેટિકન, Batikan, עיר הותיקן, वेटिकन सिटि, Grad Vatikan, Վատիկան, Kota Vatikan, Páfagarður, Vaticano, ローマ法王庁 (バチカン市国), ვატიკანი, Vatikani, វ៉ាទីកង់, ವ್ಯಾಟಿಕನ್, 바티칸시티, ڤاتیکان, Vatikaani, Vatiká, ວາຕິກັນ, Vatikano miestas, Nvatika, Vatikāns, Firenen'i Vatikana, Ватикан, വത്തിക്കാന്‍, व्हॅटिकन, ဗာတီကန်, Vatikanet, Vatican State, भेटिकन, Heilige stoel (Vaticaanstad), Vatikanstaten, ଭାଟିକାନ୍, Stolica Apostolska (Watykan), Citad dal Vatican, Umurwa wa Vatikani, Orașul Vatican, Vatikána, Letëe tî Vatikäan, Faatikaan, Vatikanen, வாடிகன், వేటికెన్, นครรัฐวาติกัน, Місто Ватикан, واٹیکن سٹی, Thành phố Vatican, Orílẹ́ède Fatikani, 圣座(梵蒂冈), i-Vatican City

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