Thursday's Child: St. Peter's Basilica

Thursday, January 5, 2012




One of the wonders of travelling is getting a glimpse into how another culture worships.  Whether I visit a church, synagogue or mosque, it gives me a little insight into the country and its people.  Often these buildings were erected by renowned architects and enhanced with the most treasured art, allowing us to witness the glories of a civilization. This month I’ll be recalling my visits to some of the loveliest places of worship we’ve seen on our travels.


It’s hard to imagine what I could write about St. Peter’s Basilica that hasn’t already been written.  So let me start with the size.  It’s one of the largest Christian churches ever built, with an interior size of almost six acres.  And if required, it can hold 60,000 people.  Ironically, it’s located in Vatican City, the smallest country in the world.


The best-known and most precious piece of art held in the Basilica is Michelangelo’s Pieta.  Carved when he was only 24, it’s a depiction of Mary holding Christ after the crucifixion.  Pieta is the only sculpture Michelangelo ever signed. 



St. Peter’s Square is equally enormous.  If the crowds are larger than the 60,000 that the basilica can handle, then the piazza holds an additional 300,000.  The obelisk in the middle of the piazza was brought from Egypt and the colonnade is lined with the statues of 140 saints.  The photo at the top of this post portrays the statue of St Peter, who was allegedly crucified here.


As with most things that are huge, it’s truly difficult to get a sense of size.  To give you a better idea, the photo above shows St. Peter’s Basilica; the photo below is a close-up of the columns.



25 comments:

Kayte said...

So beautiful! Matt and Mark went a few years ago with Matt's choir and saw all of this. They sang in the 4 main churches, including St. Peter's and St. John L...they sang Ave Maria around the Pieta to a standing room only crowd...priceless. Your photos are wonderful and such fun to read and see it all through your eyes.

Belinda said...

This is one of the most beautiful places in the world - thanks for taking me back there!

jillbert said...

Beautiful! I've only seen this from the outside, but hope to get back to Rome to spend more time (yes, I tossed a coin in the fountain!).

Joanne said...

The architecture and art are almost beyond words. I've never been there, but I'd imagine that to just be in the presence of such a place is a humbling, moving experience.

Beth said...

Kayte, that must have been an incredible experience for Matt. I get goosebumps just thinking about it.

And Jill, I tossed a coin in Trevi fountain too. Hopefully I'll return someday!

Pacheco Patty said...

We were fortunate to have visited the Vatican this past November. The tour was amazing and more than stands out in a world where the most exquisite places of worship exist all over cities and in the countryside. Thanks for sharing your photos, can't wait to see the other places you've visited!

NO REASON NEEDED said...

Beautiful. What fortune to have seen such wonderful places.

Lizzy Do said...

We took the kids two summers ago...so full of incredible art and history. Thanks for sharing your impressions, Beth...we plan to go back in 2025!

Catherine said...

Dear Beth, It is just marvelous. How beautiful and inspiring this is. Thank you for sharing your pictures and travels.
Have a very blessed and beautiful New Year. Catherine xo

Simply Life said...

oh those are just gorgeous! great photos!

Carol said...

Stunning! What a fantastic place, I enjoyed your post.

Cindy said...

Since I will probably never get there thanks for the tour. Beautiful photos, amazing!

Lynne said...

Great photos-looks a beautiful day. I was there a few years ago and toured the Necropolis-the underground of the Basilica. It was amazing!

Rita said...

That is also one of my thingsl when we travel; I always try to go visit the church; I locw the old ones with so much history.
Rita

Jeanne said...

I'm always fascinated by churches as well. I would love to see the Basilica someday! It looks stunning. And that sure is an elaborate streetlight, too.

Claudia said...

The history contained in that place just awes. You depicted it beautifully.

Jess said...

These are so beautiful~ I can't imagine the power and humility and sense of history I would feel to see them in person. Since I can't imagine it, I guess I better start traveling one of these days :)

Barbara said...

Wonderful photos, Beth. I've been there and it's even more beautiful in person, isn't it?

Happy New Year, my friend!

yummychunklet said...

Happy New Year!

The Golden Eagle said...

Great pictures! It looks like an amazing place--in both the size and the architecture.

shaz said...

Wow, what an amazing church. It does look enormous. Not sure if I'll ever get a chance to visit, so thanks for the photos :) Happy New Year!

Jill | Dulce Dough said...

I just love your travel pictures and stories Beth!

Julie said...

Another wonderful Thursday adventure. Thanks for sharing with us!!

Miriam said...

Pure beauty! I love this post and the beautiful pictures, I love seeing the beautiful things that peaple have done with their time through the ages. Like the people that built some beautiful buildings, created such amazing art, and YOU for writing about it :),
Miriam@Meatless Meals For Meat Eaters

comfortablydomestic.com said...

I can't even wrap my mind around how I would feel being at St. Peter's Basilica! My mom came for a visit this weekend and was describing it for the boys. The Pieta alone would be worth the trip.

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