September 04, 2014

Stairs to Heaven…or at least the Top of St. Peter’s Basilica

St. Peter's Square

We celebrated our first full day, and our anniversary, at the heart of Rome at St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican. Actually, during our trip to Italy we walked completely around an entire country! (We don’t need to mention that it was only 110 acres around).

We used our Omni-Rome passes (again, if you go to Rome this is really worth it), to skip lines into the Vatican City Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica that both can have extremely LONG lines in the heat of the day. That along made the passes worth it. Our first stop was the Vatican Museums. It is amazing to see all the art and masterpieces that belong to the Vatican—and then to know that what we are seeing is not nearly all that is stored out of sight. We saw gilded rooms with ornate décor flanked on all sides by large marble statues. Lady Hiva and I enjoyed googling not only who the artist was but the scene that the artist decided to create. (I did feel bad for the Renaissance statues that were castrated later because they were immodest).

St. Peter's Square

The great walls of the Vatican

Inside of the Vatican museum

Inside the Vatican Gardens

Tau’aho loved the long hallways to run in and found all kinds of details to explore that we would not have seen without his help. Sadly, once we were out in the public again his hunt for rocks turned into a hunt for anything out of the ordinary—usually that was a piece of rubbish or cigarette butts. I felt like I was doing some crazy dance steps trying to cover the rubbish before he picked it up. Sometimes he would wait patiently until I moved my foot, or he became smarter and pretended to walk away knowing I would follow and once I would move he would dart back and grab it! Sneaky kid—and he is only 1 year old! 

We wish that we could have taken photos of the Sistine Chapel and other famous places in the Vatican. They were truly breathtaking. The only thing I did not like are the tour groups stopping in a long narrow hallway trapping me in there...I could not even enjoy the tapestries. 

Within the walls of the Vatican I could not help but think of all the decisions made there that have shaped the world over the years. Some powerful people have walked these same halls. We came out and went into St. Peter’s Basilica. The massive building has so many marble statues and architectural views to see it would take years to understand them all and what they represent. Tau’aho promptly took his nap and it was the only place the entire trip we could not take the stroller so I carried him while we were there. We decided that it would be fun to see the view from the top of the dome (why do we think stairs are easy?) Over a 500 stairs up and the same amount back down, we had made it to the top. I carried Lucky in our single file line of people up a narrow passageway where both of my shoulders rubbed. It was tiled with Dijon green tiles. We were walking in the passageway between the exterior wall of the basilica and the inner walls…must have been a really cool secret passage before.
On the roof of St. Peter's Basilica behind all the statues

Dome of St. Peter's Basilica

The view from the top of the Basilica

Marble Statue of death and the veil in St. Peter's Basilica

I kept distance between me and the person in front of me, trying to just keep going to not panic when it became tighter and we were literally leaning sideways as we arrived closer to the top.  It was a promising view too.

At the top of the dome inside St. Peter's Basilica

Towards the top of the dome

It was fun to see the tourists around the city. Although Rome is SO much quieter than Istanbul, there seemed to be people everywhere near the tourists sites. We were drawn to the Turks and the Filipino friends we found. It is amazing how speaking a language unites people. People all over the city stop to talk with him and he treats them with his stories and his smiles. Everywhere we went the people said “Ciao!” to him and with some of their accents, it sounds like “Tau!” So he would turn to see who they were and how they knew his name.

It was a good anniversary day finished off with some deliciously fattening Italian food and some cool gelato.

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