In the continuation of the TOP-10 post of ideas for what to see in the Vatican, today BlogoItaliano will stop at five places and ideas that, from our subjective point of view, are the most interesting in a dwarf state located in the very center of Rome. However, not all of the following can be called places ... Rather, as the Americans would say, Must see ...
Designed to ensure peace and security of the Pope, the Swiss guards are difficult to take seriously.
No. 5 Swiss Guard
The reason is their colorful shape, stitched, according to legend, according to the drawings of Michelangelo. Meanwhile, the first impression that the guards make is very deceptive: for admission to the Guard, the recruit should comply with a whole list of very strict canons. Among them, for example, Swiss citizenship, compulsory preliminary military service, knowledge of the German language, the Catholic religion, etc.
The form for the guards was developed by Michelangelo himself.
Guardsmen had to participate in hostilities only once - in the year 1527, when, protecting the Pope from the troops of Emperor Charles V, 147 guardsmen were killed. However, they completed their task, Pope Clement VII safely escaped. Since then, in memory of the valor of the fallen guards, recruits take the oath on May 6 - the day of the Swiss guard.
To date Swiss Guard totals 110 people. Guardsmen are present at all events where the Pope appears, whether it be an audience, mass or a diplomatic reception. Including guards monitor compliance with tourists dress code rules.
No. 4 Sistine Chapel
Built in 1481 as the personal residence of the Pope, the Sistine Chapel is, above all, the seat of the election of the new Popes. Capella became famous worldwide for the fact that its vaults and part of the altar wall were painted by Michelangelo.
On the huge ceiling, divided into 9 parts, the artist managed to portray more than 300 characters. The scenes from the Bible and the Old Testament, the artist wrote for four and a half years, lying on his back, on the platform. The tour of the museums ends with a fresco - The Last Judgment, written by Michelangelo in the year 1541 on the altar wall of the chapel.
Sistine Chapel - the final stage of a tour of the Vatican Museums
The path to the Sistine Chapel lies through Vatican Museums, and its inspection is the final stage of the tour. The inspection of the Capella is allocated no more than 15 minutes. It is forbidden to talk and take pictures loudly, but at the same time, in order to avoid injuries in the neck, when examining the arch of the chapel, everyone can lie on the floor.
We advise you to bring your binoculars with you to better see the details. By the way You can buy an online ticket to the Sistine Chapel here and more about this amazing place BlogoItaliano wrote in an article on the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums: what you should know about.
№3 Vatican Museums
The Vatican Museums are an extensive complex of, in fact, museums, galleries, collections, palaces, apartments and other visits. AT Vatican Museums collected a huge number of sculptures, paintings, ancient manuscripts and books.
In the Egyptian Museum, for example, there are exhibits whose age totals more than 2 thousand years. Statues of pharaohs, ancient papyri, scarabs and even animal mummies are stored here. The Etruscan Museum has a rich collection of bronze and gold items, vases and statues, which were considered ancient even in the era when the Roman Empire did not lose its greatness.
Vatican Museums are considered one of the most interesting in the world.
Rafael’s stanzas, which are three small halls that the 25-year-old artist painted by order of Pope Julius II, deserve special attention. Ancient heroes and Bible stories on Raphael's frescoes are expertly intertwined with real characters associated with religion and the church. You can buy your ticket online at the Vatican Museums here.
No. 2 St. Peter's Basilica
St. Peter's Basilica has the shape of a Latin cross and for many centuries was considered the largest Christian church in the world. To date, this championship has already been lost, but its grandeur still impresses visitors: the height of the structure is up to 136 m, and up to 60 thousand people can simultaneously accommodate inside the church.
St. Peter's Cathedral was rebuilt several times
Having arisen at the burial place of the Apostle Peter, the Cathedral was rebuilt several times until it acquired a modern look. Most of what is seen today was built in the 16th century. Rafael, Michelangelo, Bernini and other equally famous artists and architects of the past had a hand in the construction of the architectural masterpiece.
Among the treasures St. Peter's Basilica Michelangelo’s famous marble masterpiece “Pieta” is a sculpture of the Virgin Mary mourning the crucified Christ. After the attempt of one crazy geologist to smash it with a rock hammer, the statue was closed with armored glass.
The dome of the Cathedral makes a very strong impression
Another no less famous statue is the bronze sv. Peter. There is a belief that if you conceive a desire and rub the right foot of the Apostle, then it will certainly come true. The enthusiasm of the pilgrims making a wish, as they say, on the face: from numerous touches, the bronze faded and turned white.
From the main hall you can also easily get to the sacred Vatican Grottoes and rise to the dome of the Cathedral. In more detail about the Basilica BlogoItaliano was told in a separate article by St. Peter's Basilica: must see in Rome.
No. 1 St. Peter's Square
St. Peter's Square serves as a gateway to the Vatican, it is from here that it is recommended to start exploring Rome and the Vatican in order to be in time (see our detailed route). This is Bernini's architectural masterpiece in shape resembling a keyhole, and papal services are still held here. Believers from all over the world gather in the Square to listen to the pontiff and receive his blessing.
St. Peter's Square serves as a gateway to the Vatican.
St. Peter's Square surrounded by four rows of Doric columns, the tops of which are decorated with 96 statues of saints and martyrs. Above the very center of the square, at an altitude of about 35 meters, an Egyptian obelisk ascended to Rome by order of the emperor Caligula. According to legend, the remains of Julius Caesar are hidden inside a golden ball on its top.
It is noteworthy that if you stand in one of the white circles located near the obelisk, you can witness the optical illusion invented by Bernini: it seems that the columns are hiding one after another and the colonnade becomes transparent. Two grandiose fountains made by architects Maderno and Bernini also deserve attention.