Inside St Peter's Basilica
Vatican City
Michelangelo's magnificent Pieta, carved in 1500, draws
immediate attention upon entering St Peter's Basilica.  It is
now protected behind glass after being vandalized.
Michelangelo was only 25 when he carved this statue
of Mary holding her crucified son Jesus.  As a
sculptor, Michelangelo's other most famous creation
is David, which you will see on my Florence page.
The interior of St Peter's Basilica is huge, overwhelming,
and crowded.  The floor includes markings showing where
other famous churches end, demonstrating St Peter's
superior size.  A visitor can now head both down and up.
The Crypt underneath St Peter's Basilica is where
many Catholic Popes have been laid to rest.
Looking at Michelangelo's Dome caused my aspirations to
shift upwards.  An elevator goes only part of the way, but I
was prepared for the final dome walk and the glorious view.
I tend to climb every dome or tower that provides the
opportunity, looking for the best pictures.  But Michelangelo
added this twist to his dome walk, an absurd slant.  The
camera is perfectly vertical, but everything else tilts, in
addition to being very narrow.  The reward at the dome's
summit was worth it, a classic picture of Rome, which you
can see by clicking
Here .
If you have a high speed internet connection, watch the Intrepid
Berkeley Explorer's free video that is 100% Italy,  by clicking
on  
Gondola With the Wind 2  ; also see Rome, Florence, Pisa,
and Venice by clicking on the earlier
Gondola With the Wind