St. Peter’s Basilica, The Cupola and The Beggars Series


I split up seeing the Vatican Museum and St. Peter’s Basilica into separate days due to the crowds.  I got to the St. Peter’s Square a little bit after 8:30a and got in line for the security check.  It went pretty fast and I headed to the Cupola.  I didn’t do this the last time I was in Rome, so it was also on my must-do list while in town.

It was 5€ if you walked all 500+ steps or 7€ to take an elevator up 300+ steps but still have to walk the remaining 200+ steps, so I decided to walk the whole thing.  It goes up to one of the domes in the basilica, and you get a pretty good view of the inside the basilica.  From there, it’s another 200+ steps to outside of the Cupola.  The view from there was AMAZING!  You can see all around Rome with a 360° view.  I stayed up there for a bit taking pictures and just soaking it all in.

I took the stairs back down and ended up inside St. Peter’s Basilica.  I wandered around, took some pictures and found the chapel set aside for prayer.  I stepped in for some quiet prayer time, which was very nice.  Not all of the churches provide a dedicated quiet space for prayer, so when there is such space, I always take advantage of it.  Otherwise, you are battling with tourists chatting  while you are trying to focus on prayer.  This extrovert doesn’t do well in those settings.  J

While I was walking around I saw several Cardinals (I’m guessing that’s what they were….) in their black Cossacks and beanies walking through the basilica.  That was pretty cool.  I also saw lots of priests and couldn’t figure out why.  It seemed like there were groups of them all over the place.  I finally realized they were there because it was the end of the “Year of the Priest” celebration.  When I left the basilica to go to the Camino l’Europe exhibit, it looked like they were setting up for something in the piazza.  I had to walk all the way around the piazza to get to where the exhibit was because they had closed off all of the exits.  I got all the way over there before I found out it was closed today too because of the event happening later in the afternoon.  Darn it!  I was starting to wonder if I would ever get to see this exhibit.  It made me all the more determined to see it, though.

I found a lovely spot to sit and people watch, just by the entrance to St. Peter’s Square.  I became fascinated with this Gypsy woman who was begging rather aggressively (she would fit in Portland perfectly) and the reactions of the people she was asking money from.  I pulled out my camera, put it on the black & white setting and started snapping pictures.  She was so enthralled with asking people for money, I don’t even think she saw me.  I can’t wait to see what the pictures look like when I get them on my computer.  I’ve decided to start shooting a series of beggar photos when I can be discreet enough to do it.  This should not be a problem in Rome as they are at every church entrance.

I walked back towards the bus stop and decided to explore a bit of the area around the Vatican more, hoping to find a grocery store, but settling on a gelateria and some gelato.  Yes, I am easy to please.

I finally went back to the hostel and settled in for the evening.