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St Peter's Basilica

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by Sandra Lawson (subscribe)
To paraphrase Dorothy: 'There is no place like London.' I hope I can convince you of that here. Also check out my blog at damselwithadulcimer.wordpress.com and my theatre reviews at www.playstosee.com
Published June 29th 2012
Whenever anybody mentions Rome to me, my eyes glaze over. It's my favourite city in the whole world and, although I've visited several times, I always find new places to explore and visit. A trip to the Eternal City is never complete without a visit to St Peter's Basilica. The entire Vatican City is a permanent hub for both tourists and pilgrims. Its splendours are so breathtakingly beautiful that you don't need to be a Catholic to admire and enjoy them, although I suppose a religious belief adds to the pleasure.

One of the plus points of St Peter's is that it costs nothing to visit, just as long as you don't try to explore during religious services. The original church, believed to be the burial place of St Peter, dates back to the 4th century, and the present day structure was constructed during the 16th century. The huge amount of wealth possessed by the Vatican was able to finance the numerous Renaissance works of art that are displayed around the Basilica, and there are many more nearby at the Vatican Museums. Don't forget that the famous Sistine Chapel, is now part of the Museums, and not accessible from St Peter's.

Highlights of a visit to St Peter's include Michelangelo's Pietà

Michaelangelo's Pieta
Michaelangelo's Pieta


Bernini's baldacchino

The Baldacchino
The Baldacchino


the Altar of St Jerome by Domenichino

The Altar of St Jerome
The Altar of St Jerome


The Tomb of St Peter

The Tomb of St Peter
The Tomb of St Peter


and Raphael's Altar of Transfiguration

Altar of Transfiguration
Altar of Transfiguration


And of course there is the magnificent dome of St Peter's, both from within

Inside the Dome of St Peter
Inside the Dome of St Peter


and without.

Outside St Peter's Basilica
Outside St Peter's Basilica


This is only a very tiny taster of what you could discover. If you want to indulge your appetite to bursting you'll have to visit in person.
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Why? Words aren't sufficient to explain why
When: Check the website for opening times
Where: Vatican City, Rome
Cost: Free
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