I will leave to others to try and describe the immensity, beauty and grandeur of St. Peter’s Basilica and all the Vatican offers. It is simply over the top in every aspect. The guide told us that they did what they could to make it appear smaller than it is, as the size was unnerving to many who visited. There are arches and domes of differing sizes that intersect, resulting in incredibly complex architectural lines. One of the photos in the Gallery is named ‘Complexity’ for this reason. On display is Michelangelo’s beautiful Pieta, now behind glass every since a crazy man chipped off part of Mary’s nose…. Among the crowd are tourists busily snapping one photo after another, wandering around with heads always strained toward the ceiling, as well as nuns quietly experiencing the meaning of the place in silence. There is likely no more beautiful and ornate building on earth. However, I am no expert in this area as I have yet to see the Taj Mahal, Palace of Versailles and many other places, so much to see….
Outside of the Basilica is the vast Vatican Museum with miles of display space. Every inch is decorated beyond imagination. Even the several gift shops have priceless, ornate ceilings. With no tripod and tooooo many people, all my photos are handheld and meager attempts to capture the beauty. Even the exit stairwell is a work of art. While most people’s heads are careened toward the ceiling, their feet are on exquisite mosaics and marble artwork. After hours of walking through the many rooms of the Vatican Museum, you enter the Sistine Chapel in awe. Those caught taking photos by the guards were required to delete them on the spot. Many people have dedicated their lives to Michelangelo and his work here and I know so little. I feel I would appreciate it more with more knowledge of the details. Just as happens with artists today, when his work was revealed it caused a great deal of controversy and criticism by critics. Painting angels without wings was one such topic of debate.