Frankly, i had no idea how it will be to cross the border from Italy to the sovereign state of The Vatican City. Do i have to show my passport at border post? Is there any control at all? Or can i sneak in from a small alley from Rome?
Stepped out from the metro, first sight of The Vatican was its high massive wall which surround the lot of the tiny state. With only 49 hectares and less than 800 inhabitants The Vatican City is the smallest independent state of the world. But several ten thousands of tourists streams into the city daily in the high seasons.
But it’s wintertime now. Not many people on the streets when i followed these huge walls outside the Vatican. I went around a corner and saw the big columns which encircling the St. Peter’s Square. They’re also the border of the state of The Vatican City i guessed. Nobody noticed when i stepped trough and found myself on the huge square in front of the basilica. That’s it. I’m in.
I was put off by the line in front of the cathedral. Luckily the sun is shining with mild temperatures. I strolled around the square, observed the visitors, tourists and nuns and monks in small groups. There’s lot of space on the square. Quite different than seen in pictures. And the queue to the huge basilica is moving pretty fast too, i saw. I joined in. And really, quicker than expected i was trough the security check and inside the basilica.
An enormous space opened after coming trough the big doors. Everything is golden. Even the air seemed filled with a golden aura. How exciting must it been for the pilgrims just a few decades back, to step in this space of divine power. Every sinner feels small and insignificant, searching for the glory of forgiveness. Certainly a good source for funding a comfortable life as clerical elite and investing for more impressive buildings.
Countless sculptures and paintings all over. Some more hidden, other rather prominent. The famous sculpture ‚Pietà‘ from Michelangelo is near the entrance. Hardly to miss due the crowd in front of it. But i went for a hunt of hidden treasures. It brought me to the place under the cathedral, where the holy St Peter supposed to be buried, and since him also most of the following popes. No photos allowed here.
The top of the dome, which can be reached by an elevator or by foot on around 550 steps. I chosen the latter. The view over the state and also city of Rome was splendid. The almost empty St. Peter’s Square in front of the cathedral, the skyline of Rome in the back and a divine sunset was spectacular.
Dark birds circled the dome on my way down, sleepy angels in stone guarding a tomb i passed by and the fountain rustled its song to the stars when i reached the square again. It’s time to call it a night, i thought when i left that tiny state under the watchfull eyes of the Swiss guards.