Saint Peter’s Basilica is the biggest Church I’ve ever been in; bigger even than the impressive Saint-Sulpice in Paris, which really wowed me back then.
My 30mm (actually 48mm on my cropped Canon) Sigma lens is woefully inadequate to capture the staggering expansiveness of the premises. To give you some perspective, in the above image, the height of the Roman alphabets near the top of the picture are about that of an adult human.
(above and below) One of the highlights of Saint Peter’s has got to be Michelangelo’s crowning masterpice, the Pietà. The sculpture depicts the Virgin Mary cradling the dead body of Jesus – notice the incredible, life-like rendering of his supple body and the intricate folds of her flowing robes.
Thanks to a mentally disturbed geologist, who in 1972 lobbed off part of Mary’s hand and her nose (these have since been restored) while uttering “I am Jesus Christ !”, the sculpture is now protected by a bulletproof glass and an up-close appreciation of the piece is no longer possible.
The Pietà might be the most famous sculpture in the church, but all the other pieces deserve as much attention for their beauty and majestic scale – the lady posing for a picture below should give you an idea of just how enormous the sculptures are.
We split our day between the Vatican Museum and Saint Peter’s Basilica, but a better choice would have been an entire day in the Museum and at least the whole afternoon for the Basilica, if you want to take your time to appreciate all the art pieces and sculptures.13