The Vatican City though being a small sovereign state is a stockpile of wondrous places to visit. The best way to begin your sacred sojourn is by visiting and admiring St Peter’s Basilica’s Architecture. It is often referred to as the New St Peter’s Basilica and is known for its three-aisled Latin cross with a dome right above the high altar. The journey continues as you proceed towards the Church of Saint Anne which is also called the Sant Anne de Parafreniri which is located on the border between Vatican City State and Italy. San Pietro in Vincoli is a Rome known for its statue of Moses by Michelangelo. Besides the churches, you do visit the Vatican Museums known for their collection. The trip to the Vatican will remain incomplete if you do not visit the Sistine Chapel an amazing masterpiece by Michelangelo. Saint Peter’s Square in front of St Peter’s Basicila is popular for its fountain and Egyptian Obelisk. Apostolic Palace is the official residence of the Pope which houses the Vatican Library, Raphael Rooms and the Borgia Apartment as sections like Sala Regia and Capapela Paolina are closed for public visitations. Gallery of Maps is a fresco painted by a Dominican friar beneath a vaulted ceiling.
St Peter’s Tomb
The Tomb of St Peter lies beneath St Peter’s Basilica in an area known as Vatican Necropolis. It is believed that St Peter was crucified in Rome at the order of Roman Emperor Nero. Explore the Roman cemetery as you visit St Peter’s Tomb where you find tombs and gravestones from the old days of Rome. St Peter’s Basilica leaves an everlasting impression with its Renaissance and Baroque decor, art and architecture. Though the majestic church showcases the artistic and sacred side of the Vatican the true history lies ten metres below the ground. This lesser-known Vatican site was discovered when Pope Pius XI commissioned the excavation to find the remains of St Peter. As you visit this historical site of St Peter’s Tomb you come across paintings, sarcophagi, mosaics and coffins.
St Peter’s Basilica Architecture
St Peter’s Basicilia Architecture s influenced by the Renaissance and Baroque style of architecture as it follows the pattern of the Roman Pantheon but it was changed by Michelangelo This iconic landmark of Christianity in the Vatican stands tall over the Tomb Of St Peter who was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ. This colossal facade is one of the major basilicas in the world. The structure was built under the command of Pope Julius II in 1506 and took nearly 120 years to complete. The major contributors were great artists like Michelangelo and Bramante. The base piers of the basilica are forty-five metres high and were erected by digging trenches which were around twenty-five feet deep. Bramante for the dome placed four piers to the Corinthian Capitals. The design of the floor was changed by Sangallo when he took over from Bramanta and raised the entire floor ad strengthened the piers to accommodate changes. The material used was Travertine which was a lime-based sedimentary rock. The peculiar feature of St Pete’s Basilica Architecture is the Dome by Michelangelo with a diameter of 138 feet. The dome has a staggering height of 452 feet and the total height of the basilica reaches 730 feet
Besides the marvels of St Peter’s Basicilia Architecture, another masterpiece awaits you for a captivating and awesome experience. Sistine Chapel lies in the Apostolic Palace and was earlier known as the Cappella Magna or Great Chapel and is named after Pope Sixtus as it was built between 1473 to 1481. The popularity of the Sistine Chapel lies embedded in the frescos which adorn the interiors. The embellishment of the walls includes false drapes, the Stories of Moses and Christ and portraits of Popes. The frescoes on the ceiling together are known as Sistine Ceiling and on the west wall just behind the altar and were painted in 1508 to 1512. The frescoes feature incidents from the Old Testament. The Last Judgment fresco was painted for Pope Paul III in the period between 1534 to 1541. The length of the thin long ceiling on which Michelangelo worked was fourteen metres wide and forty-one metres long as he worked alone on the scaffold. The painting includes three hundred different figures. He painted nine main scenes namely the Separation of Light from Darkness, the Creation of the Sun, Moon and Plants, the Creation of Adam, the Creation of Eve and so on and so forth.
Chiesa di Santo Stefano del Abissini
Apart from the St Peter’s Tomb, you can also visit the Saint Stephen of the Abyssinians which is an Ethiopian Catholic Church situated in Vatican City. In 1479 Pope Sixtus IV restored the church and handed it over to the Coptic monks. The church lies behind the Saint Peter’s Basilica. It is in reverence to Stephen the Protomartyr and is the national church of Ethiopia. The church was mostly rebuilt in the 18th century as it stood on an ancient foundation during the period of Pope Clement XI. It has a beautifully carved doorcase which dates back to the twelfth century and was restored after reconstruction.
Chiesa Di Sant Anna dei Palafrenieri
The Church of Saint Anne In the Vatican happens to be a Catholic parish church which is dedicated to Saint Anne who was the mother of Mary and maternal grandmother of Jesus. Saint Anne is often called Saint Anne of the Grooms. The church is located at the border which lies between the Vatican City State and Italy. It design of the church differs from most churches as it is elliptical in shape and was designed by Renaissance architect Giacomo Barozzi da Vignola. The main entrance of the church is situated on one end of a major axis of the ellipse ( a plane curve). Fur large arches rise at the end of two axes which frame the area of entry, altar and the two chapels. The dome of the church rests on a plinth.