Just before you enter St. Peter's Basilica there is an ornate ceiling welcoming you in. As you enter the size of the size of the basilica hits you. Walking forward on your right is Michelangelo's Pietà, the only work he ever signed. It went on tour to New York for the 1964-65 World Fair. The poor statue has had a hard time in the past when a mentally disturbed geologist walked into the chapel and hacked at the sculpture while shouting "I am Jesus Christ; I have risen from the dead!" He removed Mary's arm, knocked off a chunk of her nose, chipped one of her eyelids. She looks pretty good after her restoration and is now well protected behind glass.
The church is one of the largest in the world and was consecrated November 18, 1626. It is 730 feet long and 500 feet wide. It's height is 448 feet. It's just so massive and the ceilings are so high and ornate. Everywhere you look there is some detail and tomb of a Pope.
Below was the one of the things I found most interesting in the church. It is St. Peter's Baldachin which is a large Baroque sculpted bronze canopy which stands at 20 feet which is like a six story building. It's huge. It fits nicely in the big church. Designed by the Italian artist Gian Lorenzo Bernini, who has featured in a few of my blog posts now with his sculpted works. The source of the bronze used to make the structure is unknown with some saying it came from the bronzed roof of the Pantheon though Pope Urban said the bronze from the Pantheon was used to make canons and the bronze for the baldachin came from Venice.
More Barberini Bee's in the photo below on the baldachin.
Leaving the basilica I could not resist taking a photo of the Swiss Guard. I felt bad but I am sure they are more than used to getting their photo taken by all the tourists and pilgrims that find their way to the church. I find their costumes funny but I am sure I would not find them very funny if they were to get mad at me. If you want to be a Swiss Guard you must be single, Catholic and Swiss, of course.
I headed out onto St. Peter's Square which was designed by Bernini. The obelisk was erected a hundred years before Bernini created the square.
I had to find the West/Ponente tile that is in St. Peter's Square that is featured in the Dan Brown's Angel and Demons novel/film.
I left the Vatican, adding a new country to my list of countries I have visited as the Vatican City is the smallest.