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An Amazing Journey Through Renaissance Art at St. Peter's Basilica!

My writing includes my personal travel experiences, destination, history, and cultural information.

St. Peter's Basilica

St. Peter's Basilica

The Best Laid Plans: Getting There!

Rome is a huge city, so depending on where your accommodations are located, getting to the Vatican is probably not walkable. I purchased a two day ticket on the Hop-On, Hop-Off bus thinking that I would get to see all the attractions which seemed like a reasonably good idea since the Vatican City was one of the stops. In this case, it wasn't very convenient for Vatican City. The stop was a couple of miles away and even in September, it was hot and very sunny. I ended up taking a cab back to the hotel when I was ready to leave. These little glitches in our travel are just part of the journey. We deal with them and go on; sharing our experiences with others, hoping to ease their path a bit.

Vatican City

Although this sovereign city-state is reportedly on about 125 acres, it seems expansive and I found myself looking everywhere at once. It was a typical day on the visitor spectrum and nowhere near as crowded as the first time I had visited. For this, I was thankful. Heading first to the Basilica, my plan was next to visit the museum, grab some lunch, enjoy the garden and save the "best for last", The Sistine Chapel.

St. Peters Basilica and the Renaissance Art

As you travel Europe and the rest of the world, for that matter, you see church after church, each one seemingly more impressive than the last. Such is the case with my personal travels. Each and every one has its own beauty, charm, importance, and, history. That being said, St. Peter's Basilica isn't just another church that you wander through on your travels. It's a journey to savor with each step!

The Basilica of St. Peter is considered to be the pinnacle of Christiandom. Having been built on the burial site of its patron saint, Peter, one of the 12 apostles of Jesus and the first bishop of Rome, it is the largest church in the world as well as the Pope's residence. The Obelisk in the Piazza of St. Peter is also very near the site where St. Peter was crucified upside down. Millions of people take pilgrimage each year to visit and lay their prayers of thanks and needs on this sacred ground. The balcony the Pope uses for his appearances and papal liturgies is part of St. Peter's Basilica. The original structure(circa 329 AD) was replaced by this "newer version" between 1506 and 1626 and the design team included the magnificent Donato Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno, and Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Those are some outstanding credentials, wouldn't you say?

(The following video is a bit long. Watch the whole thing or skip back and forth. It's a great opportunity to see St. Peters's basilica up close and personal. Don't rely just on my words..... take the journey through Renaissance Art! See the glory that the basilica offers its visitors)

Fun Fact:

Did you know that Michelangelo not only painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel but is also responsible for numerous paintings and sculptures throughout the Basilica? He also designed the still-worn uniforms of the Swiss Guard that protect the Basilica.

While visiting the basilica you have the opportunity to the tombs of all the popes which have been laid to rest there along with the tomb of St. Peter. These tombs are located in the grottos of the grounds.

PRO TRAVEL TIP:

As you walk through the Basilica, take your time. Leave all your thoughts at the door and admire the masterpieces of our world's most famed artists. It was the pope's will during the Renaissance for these works of art to take us on a journey through art, faith, and spirituality. These masterpieces walk us through the history of creation and Christianity. Admire the La Pietá- the Pity, which is now behind glass due to vandalism, sculpted by Michaelangelo at the age of just 24.


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The walk-through is amazing. No, friends, this is NOT just another church to check off the list as you travel. It's a spectacular trip through the world of Renaissance art and the masterpieces that have helped to build our faith.

So far, I discussed the works of art. But, what about the architecture? A work of art in its own right. Imagine the number of masons and carpenters it took for the Basilica to be what it is today, withstanding weather, earthquakes, and a myriad of other natural disasters! The Basilica is a gift from past generations to future generations.

My Impressions! St. Peter's Basilica

To say I was awestruck comes nowhere close to describing the breathtaking journey I took through St. Peter's Basilica! Looking back over my Humanities classes and Art Appreciation, I can see now where the passion came from as my professors discussed these major works. It truly is a sensory overload; one I can still feel as I think back on that fabulous day that I was fortunate enough to stand in the presence of true beauty and glory! I know that my future holds a return trip. And, on that trip, I know I will be just as struck and I'm positive I will make more discoveries; see things I overlooked, admire again the pieces I saw before.

My impressions, may or may not resonate with you. Different people, see things differently so, I feel like there other are perspectives more than worth mentioning.

One perhaps could be that if you aren't really into the art and many people aren't, then do you find beauty in the Basilica and feel like your visit was well worth your time? Will your visit will remain with you as a precious memory? I think it will.

Another possible perspective would be one of spirituality. Imagine the years of sacrifice these artists gave as a devotion to glorify their God. Many gave a lifetime; a devotion which no doubt, has been a spiritual inspiration for countless people who have had the opportunity to take the journey through St. Peter's Basilica.

I'm interested in your viewpoints on the Basilica, so as always, I invite your comments.

Originally, my intent was to include the Museum and the Sistine Chapel in this article. But, as I read back over my words, it feels like to include that part of the day in this article, would put you on overload- there's a lot of information here.

Until next time friends, remember "To Travel is to Live!"

© 2022 Dee Serkin

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