Vatican City, Italy #St. Peter’s Basilica & St. Peter’s Square
St. Peter’s Square at Vatican City, Italy is the main tourist attraction with St. Peter’s Basilica as the most visited attraction in the Vatican. When we arrived in Rome, Italy our tour started at the Vatican City and we stayed at a hotel right at the Vatican and later on we transferred to a hotel in Rome, Italy for the rest of our stay at the capital city. After checking in at our hotel, we visited the St. Peter’s Square and the St. Peter’s Basilica.
After our tour bus parked at the designated area at the square, we were allowed to go around the place individually or in groups, but we have only a few hours to visit the square and the basilica to attend mass and look around and take photographs.
When I got back to our hotel, I was reminded by the Front Desk to pick up my personal invitation from the Papal Nuncio Office that was delivered there on the day before the Papal Blessings scheduled every Wednesday morning at the Assembly Hall at the Vatican premises, whose entrances were guarded by Swiss Guards. I picked up my invitation and went to my room to rest for the night because I have to leave early the next day to attend the Papal Blessings.
St. Peter’s Basilica
There was so much to explore at the St. Peter’s Basilica so we went around taking photos and visiting the different areas like the crypt under the basilica and some of our group went up the steeple located at the roof of the church to look all over the city view. I went to the church crypt where some of the popes were buried, like Pope Pius XII and other popes. At the basilica interior they have so many statues and one of my favorites was the “La Pieta” by Michaelangelo. There was the Blessed Sacrament at the center altar and there were so many side alters all over the basilica. Inside the church after the people have said and done their prayers, most of them go around the place taking photographs.
St. Peter’s Square at Vatican City
When I arrived at the Vatican Papal Blessing Hall, I went to the side entrance as the invitation stated and before I could present the formal invitation that I was holding, the Swiss Guards blocked my way to the entrance. I asked if the speak Italian or English and (thank goodness) they spoke English so fluently, although I believed they also spoke Italian.
This is the same Vatican Papal Blessing Hall where I attended the ceremony during that time.
(Photo: Courtesy of the Vatican TV on CTV News Broadcast)
I presented them my printed invitation and they nodded affirmatively for me to enter the door but before I went inside, I requested the guards to pose with me by my side and he obliged while I asked the other guard to take our photo. They were having so much fun with us, the tourists asking them to have photos taken with us. Then one of the Swiss Guards had escorted me into the hall up to the front row to take my seat for the papal blessing. By then the area was getting crowded and my fellow tour group saw me up front while they were at the back watching at standing room only. After the blessing everyone started to leave but my friends went up the front aisle to look for me. They were wondering why I got to sit at the front row, and I told them that I got an invitation after I wrote to the Vatican Office of the Papal Nuncio.
St. Peter’s Basilica overlooking St. Peter’s Square
This basilica at St. Peter’s Square is one of the most beautiful churches in Europe. I have also visited the Cologne Cathedral in Germany and the famous Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France after I’ve visited the lovely Basilica of The Immaculate Conception and the Basilica Of The Holy Rosary in Lourdes, France on my pilgrimage there before the start of my European Tour.
St. Peter’s Basilica is seen across the river when this photo was taken from inside our tour bus.
View from inside the Basilica
A Roman Statue nearby where our tour bus was parked (as seen on the right of photo).