Saturday, March 10, 2007


The Vatican is one of the most stunning places I've ever visited but then with it being the centre of one the main world religions I guess it has to be.

St Peters Basilica is in the background. When the new pope was announced people were queueing all the way back to here.

Inside the Vatican the light levels are too low for good photos to be taken and those taken with flash came out rubbish. This meant that to get a half decent photo you had to use long exposures. Even though the hawkers were selling them on the way in, tripods aren't allowed, so keeping the camera still is the challenge in here. I felt a bit awkward leaning all over the place to keep the camera steady but it allowed me to come away with some nice shots.

After walking around the main building I took a tour of the tombs, which now include the resting place of the previous Pope. A respect for the dead meant that no pictures were taken down there, even though some tourists (mostly the Italians I might add) sneaked a pic in front of the security guards.

As well as descending beneath the Vatican you can also ascend to the top of it. Not wanting to be seen as a lazy Brit I chose to ascend the 500+ steps to the top, and not rely on the elevator for half of them. As you ascend the Cupola (the main dome) the side wall curves in, as you'd expect, and the final few steps feels like being in a funhouse. But the views from the top are amazing, even on an overcast day.

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