Saint Peter's Basilica - The Vatican

Saint Peter's Basilica - The Vatican
The final resting place and dedicated to Saint Peter the basilica was built over a span of 100 years and is the center of the Catholic Church. The entrance to the basilica is through massive carved doors and as you enter take time to look around outside. There is beautiful art everywhere.
 Saint Peter's Basilica - The Vatican
Give yourself plenty of time to see the basilica because it is larger than it looks from the outside. And it looks pretty big!
Saint Peter's Basilica - The Vatican
The basilica is the final resting place for all of the Popes. Each has a crypt that is ornately decorated with a personal touch representing the interests of the Pope. 
Saint Peter's Basilica - The Vatican
Entrance to the basilica is free but to take the climb to the top of the tower you must have 2 things; 11 euros and good climbing skills. The hike to the top is over 500 steps and is very steep at times. Once started there is no way to turn around. But it is worth it.
Saint Peter's Basilica - The Vatican
Statues everywhere tell stories of the religious past.
Saint Peter's Basilica - The Vatican
Saint Peter's Basilica - The Vatican
Saint Peter.
Saint Peter's Basilica - The Vatican
Touching the foot on the statue of Saint Peter brings good luck. It's been touched by so many people of the centuries that it has worn smooth.
Saint Peter's Basilica - The Vatican
The alter designed by Bernini.
Saint Peter's Basilica - The Vatican
Famous architects as well as many others worked on the basilica. Michelangelo, Bernini, and Raphael were the three best known and were personally commissioned by Popes to complete the work.
Saint Peter's Basilica - The Vatican
Saint Peter's Basilica - The Vatican
Saint Peter's Basilica - The Vatican
Saint Peter's Basilica - The Vatican
The basilica is so large that you could fit many many football fields inside. Around every turn is another wing with more to see.
Saint Peter's Basilica - The Vatican
The basilica is still a functioning church. Confessionals.
Saint Peter's Basilica - The Vatican
A list of all of the Popes from St. Peter to the current Pope.
Saint Peter's Basilica - The Vatican
Inside the basilica is a museum with outstanding religious art. There is an entrance fee but I highly recommend that you go in. It is small but to see the artifacts is very worth the price of admission.
Saint Peter's Basilica - The Vatican
Saint Peter's Basilica - The Vatican
Saint Peter's Basilica - The Vatican
Saint Peter's Basilica - The Vatican
Saint Peter's Basilica - The Vatican
Saint Peter's Basilica - The Vatican
The Pietà by Michelangelo. This statue is one of the most famous works by Michelangelo.
Saint Peter's Basilica - The Vatican
Even the floor of the basilica is a work of art. Many Pope's final resting spots reside under your feet as you walk the basilica. So as your eye are constantly drawn upward remember to stop and look down. You may be missing something special.
Saint Peter's Basilica - The Vatican
One of the many crypts dedicated to a long forgotten Pope.
Saint Peter's Basilica - The Vatican
The Pieta by Michelangelo is now behind glass due to an incident of attempted vandalism that occurred by some idiot. Catholic or not you have to respect the efforts of those that put this place together. The basilica is much more than a tribute to Catholic Popes. It's a demonstration of what great beautiful things people are capable.
Saint Peter's Basilica - The Vatican
Saint Peter's Basilica - The Vatican
At limited times during the day the Vatican opens up a small staircase that leads down to the crypts. It is well worth the wait to take the narrow staircase down below the basilica to see this part of Vatican history. If you cannot find the entrance ask one of the many Vatican ushers to point you to it.
Saint Peter's Basilica - The Vatican
Saint Peter's Basilica - The Vatican
Saint Peter's Basilica - The Vatican
Saint Peter's Basilica - The Vatican
Saint Peter's Basilica - The Vatican
Saint Peter's Basilica - The Vatican 
Saint Peter's Basilica - The Vatican
Ancient Roman structures were once covered in marble as are the Vatican buildings. When constructing the Vatican the Popes simply ordered that all of the old Roman buildings were stripped of marble, stone, and other precious materials in order to be used in the name of the Catholic church.
Saint Peter's Basilica - The Vatican
There must be over 100 of these marble carved doves inside the Vatican. Every inch of the interior is covered with art.
Saint Peter's Basilica - The Vatican
Saint Peter's Basilica - The Vatican
Running down the length of the center of the basilica is this walkway. Occasionally a procession of Catholic Priests makes there way down to conduct a mass in one of the many side chapels inside the basilica.
Saint Peter's Basilica - The Vatican
This is the stairway that leads to the crypt of Saint Peter. Not open to the public and reserved for church leaders and other Catholic dignitaries.
Saint Peter's Basilica - The Vatican
Saint Peter. The first Pope. It's his cathedral.
Saint Peter's Basilica - The Vatican
Saint Peter's Basilica - The Vatican
The ceilings are decorated with gold and other art.
Saint Peter's Basilica - The Vatican
Saint Peter's Basilica - The Vatican

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