Sunday, April 24, 2011

Rome Vacation, St. Peter's Basilica

The Risen Christ with his cross, in front of the dome of St. Peter's

What better day to post our photos from our visit to St. Peter's Basilica than today, Easter 2011! Viewing them again, I remember the sweet time Herb and I spent praying in the chapel there. We thanked God for Herb's own resurrection from an impending death due to kidney failure through the grace of a kidney donation and transplant on October 5th last year. We count our blessings everyday.

To view all 153 photos, go to my MobileMe Gallery at

Lelanda in St. Peter's Square

We visited on a bright sunny Thursday, March 24th. We were blessed by great weather our entire Roman holiday. On this Thursday, the Vatican was relatively sparsely visited, compared to the vast crowds and buses taking up half of St. Peter's Square when we rode by on a bus two days later on Saturday morning, thinking we'd visit the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel. We quickly changed our minds and went to Piazza Navona and the Pantheon instead, and those photos will be in a subsequent posting. Our appetite is definitely whetted for visiting other sites in Italy and a return trip to Rome.

Lining up to get inside St. Peter's Basilica
The lines were very efficiently and courteously managed, guiding us through a metal detector and our belongings through an X-ray machine. We only waited about 20 minutes and were glad to have chosen to tour at our own pace instead of using a paid guide. That turned out to be good strategy for taking numerous photos and spending extra time in front of the paintings and in the prayer chapel. With the relatively light visitor load, it meant that I could almost always wait for a clear shot of the art without competing with other photographers.

Looking out onto St. Peter's Square from the basilica's entrance
The area directly in front of the basilica had been set up with hundreds of folding chairs, and we didn't know if an event had just happened or was scheduled to happen.

On Saturday, this area was packed with lined-up tour buses

This was not our entry, but the guards were picturesque
Herb in the portico, the entry hall, to the basilica
Our first view of the nave, facing the baldachin
St. Peter's baldachin is the huge bronze carved canopy of state at the center of the crossing and directly under the dome of the basilica. It marks the place under which St. Peter's tomb lies. Under the canopy is the high altar of the basilica.

Looking down into the Confessio near St. Peter's tomb
Interior view of the dome of St. Peter's Basilica
An interior view to show the vastness of the basilica
One insight I had as I visited not only St. Peter's Basilica, but other archaeological sites in Rome, was how spot on the builders of Caesar's Casino and Resort in Las Vegas were. It always seemed to me that the over-sized Vegas Caesar's was somehow contrived, but now that I have seen the sites in Rome, I understand that the colossal size is accurately reminiscent of Rome.

St. Andrew, who was crucified on an X-shaped cross
Even the floor offered beauty to inspire
A confessional for the Sacrament of Penance
One of numerous altars in St. Peter's Basilica
These photographs were taken without flash and adjusted for exposure using the iPhoto software that comes with a Mac computer. It has been my experience that when natural light is present, even if it's dim light, adjusting the exposure on the computer provides a better photo than using a flash in the field. To see the rest, please go to my MobileMe Gallery at, where the photos can be viewed as a slide show.

One of a pair of doors on the way out
Turning around for a final look at St. Peter's Basilica as we leave


David H-T said...

Nice pictures, Lelanda. Thanks for sharing them. I agree that the photo without flash is quite realistic-looking. Glad you and Herb had a great, if short, time there in the Holy City!


Thanks, David, for viewing the photos. Herb and I came to traveling for pleasure late, only about 15 years ago. Before that we lived in Hawaii, and every vacation was spent visiting family on the mainland to ensure our daughter was connected to the extended family. Herb consulted for many years, and we are having fun using up all the air miles and hotel points he earned while working so hard. ~~ Lelanda