Results 11-20of 34 Reviews
Northern Ireland, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
July 27, 2007
The Vatican and St Peter's is the centre of Roman Catholicism, and St Peter's architectural matches its re-position. Its dome is one of the key features of the Rome skyline and it can be seen from many places across the city. Its grandeur is enhanced by the large Piazza that is in front on the Basilica, and is edged with a covered colonnade. At the centre of the piazza is a obelisk that is 13th century BCE and was moved to Rome in Nero's reign as emperor and later placed here.
The emperor Constantine had a church built here in around 330, but this was replaced as work began on the new basilica in 1506 and completed in 1623 with several architects, including Michelangelo being involved in its design. The result is a magnificent building that is considered the largest Church building in the world and has a capacity of over 60,000.
The interior of the building is elaborate and there is a sense of immense space. There are a great many statues and monuments, including Michelangelo's marble carved Pieta which is close to the entrance, but this has a protective glass shield.
There is free entrance into the basilica, however there are strictly enforced regulations about dress in that shoulders and knees must be cover. It is also possible to visit the tombs of the previous popes under the church, but I would probably skip it unless you are especially interested. Note if you do visit the grottoes the exit from this takes you outside the basilica, so make sure you explore the interior of St Peter's before you go. It is also possible to climb the dome for 5 euros, but there is often a long queue to do so, and so we skipped it.
The Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament, is open but it is as the sign states "Only those who wish to pray may enter" and thus it is a place of peace and stillness for many visiting Catholics. There are also regular masses said in St Peters several times a day - details can be found on the website www.vatican.va. And just for fun why not send a postcard from the Vatican City which is a separate country governed by the Pope. It has its own post office and you'll postcard will get a Vatican City postmark.
I'm not a Roman Catholic but I can appreciate St Peter's importance for millions of Catholics. But Saint Peter's is still an inspiring place that is well worth a visit no matter what your religious views are.
From journal Glimpsing Rome
July 23, 2007
From journal When in Rome...
by Ghost Train Rider
May 21, 2006
From journal Rome - Over Too Quickly
April 2, 2005
From journal Weekend Getaway in Rome
October 15, 2004
After the Pope’s performance, we were offered a free guided tour of St Peter’s. This is half an hour well spent, and you can then return on your own. Make sure you are properly dressed: trousers for the men and covered shoulders for the women.
The Basilica is vast, and the interior is breathtakingly beautiful. I believe it’s the biggest church in Europe (perhaps in the world), and there are markings on the floor to show how other churches would fit in to St Peter’s.
The Basilica is just crammed full of stunning artwork in the form of sculptures, stained glass, paintings, and general architecture with work by Michelangelo, Giotto, and Bernini. You will gasp at the wonderful dome, which soars to a height of over 140 feet and was designed by Michelangelo, and be mesmerized by Bernini’s Throne of St. Peter in Glory. Take in the artistry of The Papal Altar enclosed by Bernini’s magnificent gilded bronze canopy, and ensure a prolonged examination of the incredible monument to Pope Alexander VII (the re-creation of the folds of material is incredible). Michelangelo’s Pieta is open to a variety of interpretations, and I could have wondered at it for ages.
I reckon it’s impossible to do justice to the Basilica. All the statues are in perfect proportion and those at the top of the building, although huge in construction, take account of the onlooker’s eye and seem to be the same size of the much smaller statues at ground level.
Those who contributed to this amazing edifice had such an eye for detail that I cannot believe anyone could claim to know everything about the Basilica. It’s a treat to visit and there are surprises round every corner and at every level. I’d say take the tour and then just follow your eyes for as long as your legs will permit. You will not be disappointed.
From journal Roaming in Rome
October 5, 2004
t is the largest but never feels huge. The dome is beautiful. As you enter Michelangelo's Pieta is on the right, behind bulletproof glass. It is an amazing statue, both beautifully and movingly capturing a tender moment as Mary holds the lifeless body of her son in her arms.
There are very huge statues of founders of orders in the main halls. One of them was Juliana Falconieri, so I had my picture taken with her. It was good that I noticed where the names were. We also saw where bishops and cardinals regularly renew their vows. We saw the statue of Peter which pilgrims touch the feet of, and the intact body of John 23rd.
All of the "paintings" in the church are mosaics; beautiful, and they enabled us to take flash pictures, but a tad shiny, especially when using a flash.
From journal Roman Pilgrimage
Mont Albert North, undefined, Australia
August 1, 2004
The church compared itself favourably with other churches around the world. Larger than Westminster Abbey.... they had a mark on the floor to indicate the distance from the entrance of Westminster Abbey to the altar. It was well inside the church entrance!
Some popes were arranged in glass cases in alcoves around the church. Their faces were covered with either wax or silver masks. Strangely, not all popes were accorded this privilege. Some were buried under the floor in catacombs marked by a circular cover. No one could explain why some got the wax treatment whilst others were given the silver service.
Still, as an example of how to spend absolutely obscene amounts of money on interior decoration, St Peter's Basilica has to top the list (followed closely by the Sistine Chapel).
If you are not completely churched out, this one is a must see! (Along with the Sistine Chapel, also in Vatican City.)
From journal Rome in a rush!
June 19, 2004
The basics: There is a dress code to get into most of Rome’s cathedrals, including St. Peter’s Basilica. No shorts, short skirts, bare shoulders, or excessively open tops (too much cleavage). To get into the Basilica, you’ll need to get into the line on the right side of the Basilica; as you are looking at it. If you are questioning your wardrobe, the metal detector attendant is not the final say whether you get in or not. There is another set of attendants specifically there to screen out inappropriately dressed individuals. Bottom line is, don’t stand in line for fifteen minutes to get sent back. Wear tasteful clothing.
Once passed through the fashion police, if you go straight, you’ll find some restrooms and a place to check any bags or items you are carrying. Baby strollers will have to be checked. There also is a section there to rent audio tour guides for inside the Basilica and the Dome (5 € plus I.D.).
Go up the stairs and you will be at the front of the Basilica. If you go straight, it’ll take you inside St. Peter’s. If you follow the path to the right, you’ll find another line to go up to the Dome on top of St. Peter’s. I highly recommend going up there. The costs to get to the dome are: 5 € to use the lift (elevator) or 4 € to use the stairs. I suggest you pay the extra euro. There are over 300 steps including the lift. And these are no ordinary steps; you’ll go through spiral stairwells, slanted hallways, and tight corridors. If you are extremely claustrophobic, you may not want to take this tour. Small children will also need help getting to the top. At the top, you have the best view of Rome. You’ll have a 360-degree view of the area too. Check out the rest of Vatican City from there. When you get back down, you’ll end up in front of the Basilica again.
As soon as I walked into St. Peter's Basilica, I was at a loss for words. I have never seen such an impressive building in my life. The first thing I know about was, "man, that’s a lot of marble." Allow yourself plenty of time to explore inside. There are several sculptures and monuments to Popes of the past. See the famous alter centered over the original burial site of St. Peter. As you stand in front of the altar, look for some stairs to your back left. They are right next to a large sculpture. I missed them the first time in was there. They will lead you below to see some sarcophagus of Popes past and I think the restored site of St. Peter’s burial.
June 5, 2004
From journal Easter Week in Rome
Edinburgh, Scotland, United Kingdom
December 5, 2003
Four huge pillars support the 44 metre diameter dome, each containing one of the major relics and decorated accordingly. I can’t help but be fascinated by the mysterious medieval world of relics; the stories, the gory obsession with skulls, blood and other sacred bodily appendages, the unwavering faith in their providence. St. Peter is supposedly tucked under the floor somewhere; a piece of the Holy Cross is here too, as are the spear of St. Longinus and a handkerchief.
Tour this grand space at your leisure, there is so much to take in. The papal tombs compete with one another for your attention and with other sculptures, many by Bernini. When you have absorbed all you can I would recommend the ascent of the dome. This was the largest queue we encountered - €5 to go part way in the lift, €4 if you take the gentle sloping steps instead. The interior of the lower stairwells are reminiscent of a gent’s lavatory – serving as something of a deterrent to the erstwhile Italian graffiti artists. The walkways are cramped, particularly up inside the dome where you clamber between its outer and inner layers. During this time you may well become a little too knowledgeable about your fellow climber’s hygiene if you get my drift. For a short while you make your way around the inside of the dome itself and have a particularly alarming view back down to the floor of the Basilica and the ant people scurrying around. You are perfectly safe though, honest.
A little more management of the crowds is in order – it would make the ascent much more pleasant. It is also difficult to enjoy the views from the top with so many others jostling for the perfect photo down to the piazza. The Blonde and I didn’t tarry long at the cupola although the final narrow staircase makes you yearn for a one-way system.
St. Peter’s is difficult to get to grips with in one visit. There are so many features of interest that individually would draw huge crowds and yet they’re all here…and then there’s the Vatican museum and its treasures around the corner. Catholic or not, St. Peter’s, the papacy and Rome have had such an impact on so many aspects of western life that it is impossible to ignore the significance of this place. It left me in awe.
From journal The Vatican...riches beyond your wildest dreams