Category Archives: Peter the Apostle

Gaudi’s Magnificent La Sagrada Familia is a Vino con Vista UNESCO Site in Barcelona Spain

Maqueta de la Sagrada Familia

Maqueta de la Sagrada Familia (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Ventilation towers on the roof of Cas...

English: Ventilation towers on the roof of Casa Milà designed by Antoni Gaudi, Barcelona, Spain Français : Cheminées d’aération sur le toit de la Casa Milà réalisée par Antoni Gaudi, Barcelone, Espagne (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sagrada Família church, by Gaudí.

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English: The Sagrada Familia viewed from Casa ...

English: The Sagrada Familia viewed from Casa Milà, Barcelona, Spain Français : La Sagrada Familia vue de la Casa Milà, Barcelone, Espagne (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Español: Gaudí y el nuncio Ragonesi visitan la...

Español: Gaudí y el nuncio Ragonesi visitan la Sagrada Familia (1915). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Sculpture of Philip the Apostle on a ...

English: Sculpture of Philip the Apostle on a tower of the Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Spain Français : Sculpture de l’Apôtre Philippe sur une des tours de la Sagrada Familia, Barcelone, Espagne (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Español: Fachada del Nacimiento, Sagrada Famil...

Español: Fachada del Nacimiento, Sagrada Familia (Barcelona). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are seven properties built by the renowned architect Antoni Gaudí (1852–1926) in or near Barcelona that have been classified as UNESCO sites. Barcelona is blessed with the legacy of this incredible man in the same way that the city of Rome is blessed with Bernini‘s legacy.

His exceptional masterpieces yield harmonious colors and fluid lines that are a testiment to his creative genius. He contributed to the development of architecture and building technology in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Antoni Gaudí, Casa Batlló

Antoni Gaudí, Casa Batlló (Photo credit: profzucker)

The UNESCO monuments include: Casa Vicens; Gaudí’s work on the Nativity façade and Crypt of La Sagrada Familia; Casa Batlló; and the Crypt in Colonia Güell. His works demonstrate “el Modernisme of Catalonia.”

Antoni Gaudi was born in Reus in 1852, a small town south of Barcelona. He died in an accident in 1926.

Interior del Templo Expiatorio de la Sagrada F...

Interior del Templo Expiatorio de la Sagrada Familia en Barcelona (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

His major feat was his association with the church of Sagrada Familia that was started by the architect Francesc de P. del Villar in 1882 in Gothic revival style. In 1883, Gaudi made fundamental changes to the project and he continued working on the church based on a Latin cross, until his death. Visit the museum under the church that chronicles Gaudi’s contributions including his models and his original drawings.

Détail de la Sagrada Familia de Gaudi à Barcelone

Détail de la Sagrada Familia de Gaudi à Barcelone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Gaudi’s vision has been realized http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=irlQiGnUuMQ. The passionate commitment of the heroic efforts of people involved in building this magnificent church will make you weep.

Gaudi's Barcelona Spain

Gaudi's Barcelona Spain Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia in Barcelona Spain

Gaudi's Barcelona Spain

The church has three facades: The Nativity to the east, the Passion facade on the west and the Glory facade on the south which has not been completed. The Glory facade will explain the life and the end of man presided over by St. Joseph in his workshop. Watch a brief video to see the magnificent structure http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hskV6b9SwPA.

Español: Busto de Gaudí, Joan Matamala, Museo ...

Español: Busto de Gaudí, Joan Matamala, Museo de la Sagrada familia. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The influencial architect has the most influence on the Nativity facade. It was built between 1894 and 1930. It is dedicated to the birth of Jesus and is decorated with ornate sculptures and faces the rising sun to the northeast. It is divided into three porticos that represent faith, hope and charity. The Tree of Life rises above the door. The facade includes different episodes of the Childhood of Jesus including the Immaculate Conception.

Gaudi's Barcelona Spain

Gaudi's Barcelona Spain

Nativity Facade

Gaudi's Barcelona Spain

Sagrada Familia Church in Barcelona Spain

The Passion facade has gaunt, skeletal characters which were designed by Josep Maria Subirachs. His hard llines represent the pain and final scrifice of the life of Jesus. A crucified Christ presides over the central door surrounded by the people that were present at his agony. Three Lati nwords appear on this facade: Veritas, Vida and Via because Jesus is the Way. The work was completed in 1978. The Last Supper and the Kiss of Judas are sculpted into the facade that is supported by six columns designed to resemble sequoia trunks.

Sagrada Familia in Barcelona Spain

Passion Facade of Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

Kiss of Judas

Passion Facade of Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

Barcelona Spain

Gaudi's Sagrada Familia

The stratospheric magnificence of the ornamentation of the  interior of the church is breath-taking. The ceiling soars with a central vault of sixty meters crowned by Christ ascending into Heaven over the main altar. The Church was consecrated by the Pope in November of 2010 so you can plan your wedding ASAP.

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Gaudi's Barcelona Spain

The Ascension of Jesus Christ

Barcelona Spain

Barcelona's Sagrada Familia Church

The Crucifixion of Jesus Christ

Barcelona Spain

Stained Glass in Sagrada Familia

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Witness the Story of Easter in Rome: Buona Pasqua

c. 1580

c. 1580 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Master of the Tiburtine Sibyl Princeton

Master of the Tiburtine Sibyl Princeton (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Tiburtine Sybil, woodcut from the Nurember...

The Tiburtine Sybil, woodcut from the Nuremberg Chronicle Français : La Sibylle Tiburtine, bois gravé tiré de la Chronique de Nuremberg, feuille 93 verso (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The 12th Station of the Cross - Jesus dies on ...

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A 14th-century of Jesus Christ bearing the cro...

A 14th-century of Jesus Christ bearing the cross, from the monastery in . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Italiano: La Sibilla Tiburtina, 1483, affresco...

Italiano: La Sibilla Tiburtina, 1483, affresco nella Chiesa di S. Giovanni Evangelista a Tivoli (Roma). L’immagine è racchiusa in un tondo e deliminata in un anello bianco con il basso l’espressione SIC AIT riferito alla profezia che viene riportata sotto il ritratto. La profezia inizia all’interno del medaglione per proseguire al di sotto di esso. The Tiburtine Sibyl, 1483. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Tiburtine sibyl and the Emperor Augustus i...

The Tiburtine sibyl and the Emperor Augustus is a 16th-century chiaroscuro woodcut by Antonio da Trento. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pope Francis and the Vatican gear up for Holy Week Celebrations and ancient traditions in and around Rome. These events commemorate the last week of the life of Jesus Christ before his painful death on the cross and ultimate Resurrection.

The Tiburtine Sybil named Albunea, told Emperor Augustus (27 BC-AD 14) in a mystic meeting, that the first-born of God would one day rule his empire: “Haec est ara primogeniti Dei”-This is the altar of the first-born of God.

Augustus commemorated the spot by erecting an altar. The church of Santa Maria in Aracoeli (altar of Heaven) now crowns the highest point of the Campidoglio in Rome with 124 steps that lead to the entrance of the church. In the church, the figures of Augustus and the Tiburtine Sibyl are painted on either side of the arch above the high altar.

English: Santa Maria in Aracoeli (façade), Rome.

English: Santa Maria in Aracoeli (façade), Rome. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Antonio da Trento, Tiburtine Sibyl and the Emp...

Antonio da Trento, Tiburtine Sibyl and the Emperor Augustus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Inside this church are the relics of St. Helen in a porphyry urn. Saint Helena was the mother of Emperor Constantine who ultimately decreed the Christianization of pagan Rome. Inside the church, there is a chapel of the Santo Bambino. The Bambino is carved from olive wood from Jerusalem using wood from the Garden of Gethsemane. It was created by a Franciscan monk in the 15th century.

Furthermore, the Tiburtine Sibyl prophesied a final Emperor named Constan who would “vanquish the foes of Christianity and end paganism.” Michelangelo portrayed the Sibyls in the frescos of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

The Tiburtine Sybil's prophecy to the Emperor ...

The Tiburtine Sybil’s prophecy to the Emperor Augustus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Easter story of the “Passion of Christ” is depicted in the 14 “Stations of the Cross.” The “INRI” on the cross is the abbreviation of “King of the Jews” in Hebrew. During his lifetime, Jesus encountered the same type of pain that normal people excounter. He endured physical pain, mental anguish, rejection, abandonment and betrayal. Holy Week allows us to recall the great sacrifice that Jesus made for all of us and signifies new beginnings.

Holy Week is one of the most religious and exciting times of the year to visit Rome and many other towns in Italy and Spain http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xZl_Ab29id4&NR=1. Holy Week events begin on Palm Sunday, also known as Passion Sunday. On this day, Jesus rode into Jerusalem on  a donkey and was welcomed as royalty with the path paved with branches and palms. The ceremonies during the week revolve around the story of the Crucifixion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ. On Palm Sunday,  Holy Week begins with the Pope‘s blessing of the palms in St. Peter’s Square.

The three days before Easter are called the Paschal Triduum of Death, Burial and Resurrection of the Lord http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcNFTNu1I4M. The Easter Vigil is the high point of the Triduum: “The night Jesus Christ broke the chains of death and rose triumphant from the grave.”  The church empties the Holy Water from the fonts on the days of the Sacred Paschal Triduum in preparation of the blessing of the water at the Easter Vigil. The Passion is read three times during Holy Week: Passion Sunday, Holy Thursday and Good Friday. The words of Jesus are always read by a priest.

On Holy Thursday (Maundy Thursday), the Pope performs a rare morning mass. “The Mass of the Chrism” is held in St. Peter’s Square when the oils are blessed and the Chrism is consecrated.  Chrism is a combination of balsam and oil and is used for annointing for occasions like confirmation and ordinations.

In the evening after sun-down, the Mass of the Lord’s Supper commemorates the institution of the Eucharist and the Last Supper of Jesus with the Apostles. This event includes a reading of Matthew’s account of the “Passion of Christ”; the narration of Jesus’ capture, suffering and death. It includes the representation of Jesus Christ washing the feet of his Disciples which was carried out by Pope Benedict at the Cathedral of St. John Lateran where he washed the feet of 12 priests http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngIUmGhwwqs.

On Good Friday, the day of Christ’s brutal crucufixion in AD33, choirs sing St. John’s version of Christ’s crucifixion. Peter Paul Rubens’ “Ecce Homo” (Behold the Man) portrays Christ with his “Crown of Thorns” before his Crucifixion. After his crucifixion, he was covered with a shroud http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2dVQnkKlphY&feature=relmfu.

On this day in Catholic churches around the world, Christians glorify the cross in their individual parishes http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ubkiKyjo9WU. The cross is venerated as a symbol of our faith by kneeling in front of the cross and kissing it. In this way, we honor the Lord’s Cross as an instrument of our salvation. The cross was the means of Jesus Christ’s execution and as a sign of victory over sin and death. The church does not celebrate the Liturgy of the Eucharist on Good Friday, rather the Church commemorates the Lord’s Passion.

In Rome on Good Friday, a solemn “Via Crucis Procession” (The Way of the Cross) involves an evening torch-lit procession that follows the Pope as he traces the Stations of the Cross from the Colosseum to Palatine Hill http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2qwjLTFcwQ. The church in Rome adopted the practice of “Adoration of the Cross” from the Church in Jerusalem where a fragment of wood believed to be the Lord’s cross has been venerated every year on Good Friday since the fouth century http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8eDPyXYv50.

St. Helen, the mother of emperor Constantine, discovered this fragment of wood on a pilgrimage to Jerusalem in 326. Pope Alexander VII had the top of the obelisk in St. Peter’s Square adorned with his insignia. There is a relic of Christ’s “True Cross” encased in this emblem of Pope Alexander that crowns the Obelisk.

Jesus had 12 disciples. They were pupils or followers of Christ. The Passion of Christ was initiated when the Temple Guards, guided by Judas Iscario, captured Jesus. Judas was a Disciple of Jesus who betrayed him by telling the guards that whomever he kisses, they should arrest. Judas was paid in silver for his betrayal which is portrayed  in “The Kiss of Judas.” The trial and painful crucifixion of Jesus ensued. Judas ended up returning the silver and committing suicide.

On the Joseph Maria Subirachs “Magic Square” on the facade of Gaudi’s Sagada Familia in Barcelona (Quadrato magico di Sagrada Familia) next to “The Kiss of Judas” in the picture below, notice that all colums, diagonals and rows add up to 33, the year of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ.

Judas Betrayed Jesus Christ before his Crucifixion

Judas Kiss and the Magic Square of 33

Pictured above is Caravaggio’s famous portrayal of “The Kiss of Judas.”

On Holy Saturday, Jesus’  lifeless body was cradled in the arms of  Mary, as portrayed in Michelangelo’s “Pieta.”  He was then laid to rest in the borrowed grave of a friend. Churches around the world conduct an Easter Vigil where we celebrate Jesus Christ; our light who drives away the darkness of our lives http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g3d9LTi_U2w&feature=relmfu. At the beginning of the Easter Vigil, the church is darkened and gradually springs to life with the Ressurection of the Lord as faithful parishoners light candles inside the church. The Easter Vigil service includes the Service of Light, the Blessing of the Fire and the Preparation of the Paschal Candle and Procession.

The gloomy darkness of Good Friday is followed by the joyful celebration of trumpets at Easter which “dispels all evil, washes guilt away, restores lost innocence, brings mourners joy, casts out hatred, brings us peace and humbles earthly pride” (Paschal Praeconium, the Exsultet). Easter Sunday celebrates the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. His Ascension into Heaven is the 40th day after Easter. On Easter Sunday, Pope Benedict delivers his blessing “Urbi et Orbi” (to the city and to the world) in St. Peter’s Square http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5axrSsEU_U0&feature=related.

In the picture below, Jesus Christ is ascending into Heaven above the altar of Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia in Barcelona Spain. The term apostle came into use after the Ascension of Jesus Christ when the disciples (followers) who had witnessed his resurrection, became apostles (ambassadors of the Gospel: evangelists and teachers). The true apostolic age ended when the last apostle died in about 100AD.

Gaudi's Sagrada Familia in Barcelona Spain

The Pope delivers several messages to faithful pilgrims between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBwIefKXY0s.

Here was the 2011 Easter Message in Italian http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r0mEEVTPU2I

Happy Easter and have a wonderful Vino con Vista celebration with your family and friends!

 

Learn more about Rome  @ www.vino-con-vista.com.

 

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Insights into the Vatican in Italy: UNESCO’s Holy City near Rome

St. Peter's Square in the early morning.

Image via Wikipedia

English: Wide angle View of the altar inside S...

English: Wide angle View of the altar inside St. Peter’s Basilica (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Façade of St. Peter's Basilica as see...

English: Façade of St. Peter’s Basilica as seen from Saint Peter’s Square. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Crepuscular rays in Saint Peter's Bas...

English: Crepuscular rays in Saint Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: A 5x6 segment panoramic image taken b...

English: A 5×6 segment panoramic image taken by myself with a Canon 5D and 70-200mm f/2.8L lens from the dome of St Peter’s in Vatican City in Rome. Français: Image panoramique composée de 5×6 photos prises par David Iliff à l’aide d’un appareil Canon 5D et une lentille 70-200mm f/2.8L à partir du dôme de la Basilique Saint-Pierre au Vatican. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Vatican City is the world’s smallest independent state and occupies 109 acres. It has been a sovereign state since 1929 and is ruled by the Pope.

The Vatican is the  residence of the spiritual leadership of the Roman Catholic Church.

Its territory is surrounded by the Italian capital city Rome. Priests and nuns make up most of the population.

The Vatican City is a small remnant of the former Papal States of central Italy. These Papal States were conquered by the forces of Italian unification in the mid-19th century.  At that time, the popes became “prisoners in the Vatican”.

They were unwilling to leave the confines of the Apostolic Palace until 1929. Finally, the Italian Fascist government negotiated the Lateran Treaty that created the current mini-state.

Francis, the current pope is the first Latin American to be elected to the position. Formerly archbishop of Buenos Aires, Jorge Mario Bergoglio was chosen to succeed Pope Benedict XVI, who reigned from 2005 until 2013.

 

Swiss Guards, dressed in traditional ceremonial dress, are responsible for the security of the Pope

 

Pilgrimage

The Vatican City itself packs many imposing buildings into its small area: St Peter’s Basilica (completed in the early 17th century) and the Vatican Museums and Art Galleries that are repositories of the priceless art collections of the popes.

Pilgrims travel from all over the world to gather in St Peter’s Square for various ceremonies, such as this beatification of Pope John Paul II in May 2011.

Magnificent works of art are housed in the Holy City. Rome’s grand churches were built in the following order: Romanesque, Gothic, Baroque and Neo-Classical.  Most of the exquisite Baroque monuments and buildings were erected during the 16th and 17th centuries. Many ancient churches have received newer facades.

Sack_of_Rome_by_the_Visigoths_on_24_August_410...

Sack_of_Rome_by_the_Visigoths_on_24_August_410_by_JN_Sylvestre_1890. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

On May 6, 1527, the Sack of Rome was perpetrated by German Lutheran and Spanish Catholic troops who resented the wealth of the papacy. The soliers entered the Vatican as Pope Clement VII was saying a mass in the Sistine Chapel. Swiss Guards were being slaughtered in St. Peter’s Square and the pope was brought to safety in Castel Sant’Angelo.

Sack of Rome of 1527

Sack of Rome of 1527 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

St. Peter's Basilica, believed to be the buria...

St. Peter’s Basilica, believed to be the burial site of St. Peter, seen from the River Tiber. The iconic dome dominates the skyline of Rome. St. Peter’s Basilica from the River Tiber. The iconic dome dominates the skyline of Rome. Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Christianity became the dominant religion of Western Civilization when the Roman Empire converted to Christianity. St. Peter’s Basilica, believed to be the burial site of St. Peter, seen from the River Tiber. Saint Peter’s Basilica. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Roman Emperor Constantine (306-337 AD) joined the Christians and before he moved to Constantinople he built several churches in Rome. San Giovanni in Laterano, St. Peter’s Basilica and San Lorenzo Fuori le Mura were all built during Constantine’s reign. Talent and leadership abandoned the newly divided empire and successive waves of Barbarians invaded Rome including the Visigoths, Vandals and the Ostrogoths. By 800 AD, Emperor Charlemagne asserted papal authority and launched another power struggle between the Church and imperial authority. By 1309, the pope moved to the safety of Avignon.

Tomb of pope Julius II by Michelangelo, church...

Tomb of pope Julius II by Michelangelo, church San Pietro in Vincoli; Rome, Italy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rome’s imperial legacy lived on in the Catholic Church where Roman senators became bishops, scholars became monks, and philosophers became theologians. The pope or high priest adopted the title originally held by the emperor; “Pontifex Maximus.” Look for this word in the Latin inscriptions in Rome. The grandeur of church rituals is reminiscent of the glory days of Julius Caesar.

The papacy’s supremacy returned to Rome in 1377. In the 1500’s, a glorious rebirth of Rome flourished when the popes invited the most talented architects, painters and sculptors to rebuild Rome’s grandeur during the Renaissance. On April 18, 1506 Pope Julius II (Giuliano Della Rovere) laid the cornerstone for the new Basilica of Saint Peter. Saint Peter’s magnificent basilica was built above the site where Peter the Apostlewas crucified, martyred and buried in the year 64.

Ancient statue of St. Peter in St. Peter's Bas...

Ancient statue of St. Peter in St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome. Possibly the work of Atnolfo di Cambio. Thought by some historians to be much older. Crop of original pic (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Christ Handing the Keys to St. Peter by Pietro...

Christ Handing the Keys to St. Peter by Pietro Perugino (1481-82) Fresco, 335 x 550 cm Cappella Sistina, Vatican. Ελληνικά: Λεπτομέρεια από την νωπογραφία του Πιέτρο Περουτζίνο, Ο Χριστός Παραδίδει τα Κλειδιά στον Πέτρο, 335 x 600 cm, Καπέλα Σιξτίνα, Πόλη του Βατικανού. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 1506, Bramante was commissioned by Pope Julius II to renovate St. Peter’s Basilica, originally built by Constantine from 324-329. Emperor Constantine built a glorious crown for St. Peter’s tomb over the site where his bones were preserved. St. Peter was the first apostle and the first pope. Since Rome is a place of pilgrimage, a “Scave Tour” is available with advanced reservations and allows you to visit the tomb of St. Peter and the archeological excavations beneath the basilica. Travel from the Baroque church to the Romanesque sanctuary to the Roman cemetery and tomb of Peter the Apostle. The crypt is located under the Papal Altar.

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides At www.vino-con-vista.com

English: Bernini's "Gloria" surmount...

English: Bernini’s “Gloria” surmounting the “Cathedra Petri”, also by him. Saint Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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St. Peter’s Basilica in Italy’s Vatican City

Rome - St. Peter's Basilica from St. Angelo Bridge

Rome – St. Peter’s Basilica from St. Angelo Bridge (Photo credit: David Paul Ohmer)

English: Interior of St. Peter's Basilica in V...

English: Interior of St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, Rome Česky: Uvnitř Baziliky svatého Petra, Vatikán, Řím (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

St. Peter's Basilica in Rome seen from the roo...

St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome seen from the roof of Castel Sant’Angelo. Location: Rome Taken: September 2004 Source: Own photo Photographer: Wolfgang Stuck (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

St. Peter's Basilica at Early Morning

St. Peter’s Basilica at Early Morning (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

St. Peter's Basilica, believed to be the buria...
Image via Wikipedia

In 1506, Bramante was commissioned by Pope Julius II to renovate St. Peter’s Basilica, originally built by Constantine from 324-329.

Emperor Constantine built a glorious crown for St. Peter’s tomb over the site where his bones were preserved.

Inside St. Peter's Basilica

Inside St. Peter’s Basilica (Photo credit: diluvienne)

English: Wide angle View of the altar inside S...

English: Wide angle View of the altar inside St. Peter’s Basilica (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Statue of St Peter by Arnolfo di Camb...

English: Statue of St Peter by Arnolfo di Cambio in St Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Façade of St. Peter's Basilica as see...

English: Façade of St. Peter’s Basilica as seen from Saint Peter’s Square. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

St Peter's Basilica

St Peter’s Basilica (Photo credit: JP..)

Saint Peter’s Basilica is built above the site where Peter the Apostle was crucified, martyred and buried in the year 64.

English: Bernini's "Gloria" surmount...

English: Bernini’s “Gloria” surmounting the “Cathedra Petri”, also by him. Saint Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

St. Peter was the first apostle and the first pope. He is always carrying his key.

Saint Peter's Square

Saint Peter’s Square (Photo credit: jimmyharris)

St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City

St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican City (Photo credit: kvsankar)

Since Rome is a place of pilgrimage, a “Scave Tour” is available with advanced reservations and allows you to visit the tomb of St. Peter and the archeological excavations beneath the basilica. Travel from the Baroque church to the Romanesque sanctuary to the Roman cemetery and tomb of Peter the Apostle. The crypt is located under the Papal Altar. Pay hommage to St.Peter in the Basilica.

Bronze Statue of St. Peter in St. Peter's Basilica in Italy

The Basilica contains the work of some of Italy’s finest sculptors. Vatican City is the world’s smallest country and occupies 109 acres; it has been a sovereign state since 1929 and is ruled by the Pope.

St. Peter’s Square is equipped with large video screens. When pilgrims and tourists converge upon the area for festivities, spectators have a bird’s eye view of the main event.

St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican

 The red granite obelisk was brought to Rome from Egypt by Emperor Caligula in 37 AD.  It was moved to this square in 1587 by Domenico Fontana.

Emperor Caligula's obelisk at St. Peter's Basilica in Italy

The statues surrounding the obelisk represent the zodiac. There are two 17th century fountains in the square. The fountain on the right (1613) is by Carlo Maderno who also designed the façade of the church. The fountain on the left was added by Bernini in 1675 by Carlo Fontana.

English: A 5x6 segment panoramic image taken b...

English: A 5×6 segment panoramic image taken by myself with a Canon 5D and 70-200mm f/2.8L lens from the dome of St Peter’s in Vatican City in Rome. Français: Image panoramique composée de 5×6 photos prises par David Iliff à l’aide d’un appareil Canon 5D et une lentille 70-200mm f/2.8L à partir du dôme de la Basilique Saint-Pierre au Vatican. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Columns and Corinthian pilasters decorate the façade. The central balcony above the main entrance is the “Loggia of Benedictions” where the pope delivers the benediction after his election and gives his weekly blessing. Below the cupola, Bernini’s workshop created 13 statues: Christ the Redeemer, John the Baptist and eleven apostles. St. Peter and St. Paul’s 19th century statues welcome visitors on the ground floor of the basilica.

St. Peter’s statue by Giuseppe de Fabris holds the golden key that he received from Christ.

Statue of St. Peter by Giuseppe de Fabris

 St. Paul’s statue by Adamo Tadolini holds the sword that symbolizes his decapitation in Rome.

The dome of the St. Peter's Basilica in Vatica...

The dome of the St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The building on the right is the Pope’s residence. The Pope appears every Sunday at noon to say the Angelus and give his apostolic blessing. The colonnade surrounding the square was designed by Bernini between the years 1656 and 1666. They represent two outstretched arms welcoming the faithful to the Basilica. There are 140 statues of saints watching over the Basilica above the colonnade.

St. Peter's Basilica, Rome, Italy

St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome, Italy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are five bronze entrance doors. These sacred doors are symbolic and functional. From left to right these doors represent: Death, Good and Evil, the original door from the old basilica, the Sacraments and the Porta Santa (Holy Door). The Holy Door is only opened during Jubilee years so that religious pilgrims can receive the Pope’s special blessing.

Holy Door in St. Peter's Basilica in Rome. Scu...

Holy Door in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Sculptor: Vico Consorti (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Holy doors at St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City

English: Michelangelo's Pietà in St. Peter's B...

English: Michelangelo’s Pietà in St. Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. Français : La Pietà de Michel-Ange située dans la Basilique Saint-Pierre, au Vatican. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides to Italy and  Vino Con Vista Travel Guides can be purchased at these sites

To learn more about Romevisit www.vino-con-vista.com. Buon Viaggio–

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A Video Vino Con Vista Tour of Rome

[Forum Boario, Rome, Italy] (LOC)

[Forum Boario, Rome, Italy] (LOC) (Photo credit: The Library of Congress)

Rome

Rome (Photo credit: tejvanphotos)

English: The seven hills of Rome Српски / Srps...

English: The seven hills of Rome Српски / Srpski: Седам брежуљака Рима (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Via Appia, a road connecting the city of Rome ...

Via Appia, a road connecting the city of Rome to the Southern parts of Italy remains usable even today. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Ancient Rome

Ancient Rome (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Currently ancient Rome covers the modern munic...

Currently ancient Rome covers the modern municipi 1, 2 and 3. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Tour the magnificence of Ancient Rome

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FIeZfHLByvQ&feature=related

[Piazza Navona, Rome, Italy] (LOC)

[Piazza Navona, Rome, Italy] (LOC) (Photo credit: The Library of Congress)

or Modern Rome

http://www.5min.com/Video/Travel-to-Rome-Italy-113368082

To learn more about Rome visit www.vino-con-vista.com

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Travel Guides to Italy and

Vino Con Vista Travel Guides can be purchased at these sites
 

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Top Treasures of the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel in Italy

Michelangelo's The Creation of Adam. The Book ...

Image via Wikipedia

English: Spectacular spiral staircase in the V...

English: Spectacular spiral staircase in the Vatican Museums in Rome (Italy) designed by Giuseppe Momo in 1932. Español: Espectacular escalera de caracol del Museo del Vaticano en Roma (Italia), diseñada por Giuseppe Momo en 1932. Nederlands: Spectaculaire wenteltrap in de Vaticaanse Musea in Rome (Italië) ontworpen door Giuseppe Momo in 1932. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: A Colossal Statue of Ceres, identifie...

English: A Colossal Statue of Ceres, identified by the harvest grain in her right hand. From the Vatican Museums, Rome, Italy. (March 2005) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So-called “Apoxyomenos” (“the Scraper”). Marbl...

So-called “Apoxyomenos” (“the Scraper”). Marble, Roman copy of the 1st century AD after a Greek bronze original ca. 320 BC. From the Trastevere in Roma. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Museo Pio-Clementino in the Vatican Museums.

Museo Pio-Clementino in the Vatican Museums. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Musei Vaticani: Braccio Nuovo (inside).

Musei Vaticani: Braccio Nuovo (inside). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Carlo Brogi (1850-1925) - "Rome - Vatican...

Carlo Brogi (1850-1925) – “Rome – Vatican – Museo Pio-Clementino – Augustus in his older age”. Catalogue # 8262. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Fresco of Mercury - Vatican Museum - ...

English: Fresco of Mercury – Vatican Museum – Rome, Italy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Vatican Museums

Vatican Museums (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A spiral staircase inside one of the Vatican M...

A spiral staircase inside one of the Vatican Museums (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Augustus of Prima Porta, statue of the emperor...

Augustus of Prima Porta, statue of the emperor Augustus in Museo Chiaramonti, Vatican, Rome (with white background). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Bust of Augustus of the Prima Porta type. Roma...

Bust of Augustus of the Prima Porta type. Roman artwork, most of the bust is a modern restoration. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Vatican Museums ( Musei Vaticani) are located inside the Vatican City. They display works from the immense collection acquired by the Roman Catholic Church throughout the centuries. The collection includes some of the most renowned classical sculptures like the Apoxyomenos (Athlete Washing) in the Museo Pio Clementino that houses works of Greek and Roman sculpture. This statue was discovered in 1849 when it was excavated in Trastevere. This statue is a 1st century Roman copy of an original Greek bronze by Lysippus.

Athlete Washing at the Vatican Musuem

I can’t resist the ancient “giant head ” sculptures in Rome! They truly relflect the egos that have dominated this town for centuries.

Classic vatican giant head

The museums contain some of the most important masterpieces of sacred Renaissance art. The intricate and elaborate Roman mosaic floors were made from tesserae colored marble.

Roman Mosaic floor of Neptune at the Vatican Museums

Many Roman military leaders were commemorated with statues throughout Rome. The statues were originally painted with vibrant colors like this replica of the Prima Porta Augustus shown below. The original marble Augustus of Prima Porta is also in the museum.

The famous statue of Augustus Caesar was discovered in 1863, in the Villa of Livia at Prima Porta (first door), a suburb of Rome on the right bank of the Tiber River. Augustus Caesar’s wife, Livia Drusilla, retired to the villa after his death. The sculpture is now displayed in the Braccio Nuovo of the Vatican Museums.

English: Torso of the statue, now in the Bracc...

English: Torso of the statue, now in the Bracchio Nuovo of the , Rome. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Augustus of Prima Porta, statue of the emperor...

Augustus of Prima Porta, statue of the emperor Augustus in Museo Chiaramonti, Vatican, Rome (with white background). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are 54 galleries (salas) in the museums. The last one is the Sistine Chapel. You will witness one of the oldest and most comprehensive art collections in the world! Let’s take a look at some of Vatican Museum’s treasures and masterpieces.

Vatican Museum Treasures

The Goddess of Fertility

1.Pope Julius II founded the museums in the early 16th century. They were visited by 4,310,083 people in the year 2007.

The Vatican Museums trace their origin to one marble sculpture, purchased 500 years ago; the sculpture of Laocoon.

The story of Laocoön was the subject of a play by the Greek writer Sophocles. According to Greek mythology, Laocoön was killed after attempting to expose the ruse of the Trojan Horse by striking it with a spear. The snakes were sent by Athena, and were interpreted by the Trojans as proof that the horse was a sacred object. The most famous account of these events is in Virgil‘s Aeneid. Laocoön warned his fellow Trojans against the wooden horse presented to the city by the Greeks. In the Aeneid, Virgil gives Laocoön the famous line Equo ne credite, Teucri / Quidquid id est, timeo Danaos et dona ferentes, or “Do not trust the Horse, Trojans: Whatever it is, I fear the Greeks even bearing gifts.” This line is the source of the saying: “Beware of Greeks bearing gifts.”

The statue was unearthed in 1506 near the site of the Domus Aurea of the Emperor Nero in Rome, in the vineyard of Felice De Fredis  near the basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore.

Laocoon in Vatican Museums

Pope Julius II,  an enthusiastic classicist,  sent Giuliano da Sangallo and Michelangelo Buonarroti  to examine the discovery. On their recommendation, the pope immediately purchased the sculpture from the vineyard owner. The pope put the sculpture of the Trojan “Laocoön and His Sons” who were named Antiphantes and Thymbraeus in the grips of a sea serpent on public display at the Vatican exactly one month after its discovery. It is believed that the scultures wre from the island of Rhodes and there names were Agesander, Athenodros and Polydorus.

2.   The Stanze della Segnatura are  four rooms decorated by Raphael. They formed part of the apartment situated on the second floor of the Pontifical Palace that was chosen by Julius II della Rovere (pontiff from 1503 to 1513) as his own residence and used also by his successors. The pictorial decoration was executed by Raphael and his school between 1508 and 1524. I love Raphael’s “Baptism of Constantine” and the “Deliverance of Saint Peter.”

Raphael’s Baptism of Constantine

Raphael’s ceiling

Raphael’s Deliverance of St. Peter

3. The Sistine Chapel houses Michelangelo’s brilliant frescoes on the ceiling and lunettes above the windows. Here’s a virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel http://www.vatican.va/various/cappelle/sistina_vr/index.html

In 1473, Pope Sixtus IV commissioned Giovannni De Dolci to build a chapel for Papal ceremonies.  This Sistine Chapel is located in the Vatican Museum a few blocks away from St. Peter’s.  It is famous for its architecture and its elaborate decorative frescoed interior. Many Renaissance artists including Michelangelo, Sandro Botticelli, Pietro Perugino, Pinturicchio and others contributed to the magnificent art display in the Chapel.

Commissioned by Pope Julius II, Michelangelo painted the chapel ceiling between 1508 and 1512.

Sistine Chapel Ceiling by Michelangelo

He resented the commission but  the ceiling and The Last Judgement (1535–1541) is Michelangelo’s crowning achievement in painting. The “Last Judgment” is located on the wall behind the main altar and was completed in 1541.

Saint Jerome holding his flayed skin with Michelangelo’s self-portrait

Pope Paul III commissioned Michelangelo’s “Last Judgment” (1536-1541).  It represents a vortex of divine, human and diabolical bodies. Some souls are blessed and reach paradise and others are damned and cast down into an inferno.

Vatican Last Judgement Information Board

There are information boards in the  Cortile della Pigna that will help you navigate the art in the Chapel.

Check out the  large Roman bronze pinecone that was once a fountain. It is positioned in front of the niche in the courtyard.

Michelangelo’s Ceiling in the Sistine Chapel

One of the primary functions of the Sistine Chapel is that it is a venue for the election of each successive pope in a conclave of the College of Cardinals. During a conclave, a chimney is installed in the roof of the chapel. The smoke from the chimney serves as a signal. If white smoke appears, it is generated by burning the ballots of the election. The white smoke signifies the election of a new pope. If a candidate receives less than a two-thirds majority, the cardinals send black smoke up the chimney. This is created by burning the ballots along with wet straw and chemical additives, therefore it signals that the election has not been successful.

4. The Gallery of the Busts (Galleria dei Busti) is where many ancient busts are displayed  in the Museum of Antiquities.

Ancient busts at the Vatican Museum

The Bust Room in the Vatican Museum

5. The Map Room at the Vatican Musuems is incredible. The barrel vaulted ceiling of the “Gallery of Maps” is the hallway that leads to the former residences of the popes. The map room illustrates stories of the saints and events charted on the wall maps. It is located on the west side of the Belvedere Courtyard in the Vatican. This magnificent hallway contains a series of painted topographical maps of Italy. The maps are based on drawings by friar and geographer Ignazio Danti. The gallery was commissioned in 1580 by Pope Gregory XIII.It took Danti three years (1580–1583) to complete the 40 panels.

A Map of Sardinia at the Vatican Museums

6. The Sarcophagus of Saint Helen, the mother of Constantine is located in Sala a Croce Greca. The ornate object is carved from red porphyry stone with Roman horsemen and barbarian prisoners from the 4th century.

St. Helen’s Sarcophagus

7. The  Pinacoteca Vaticana was commissioned by Pope Pius IV in 1790. The collection was first housed in the Borgia Apartment, until Pope Pius XI ordered construction of a proper building. The designer was Luca Beltrami. The art gallery contains paintings by Giotto, Lippi, Leonardo da Vinci and Caravaggio including:

Leonardo da Vinci’s Saint Jerome

Fra Filippo Lippi’s Coronation of the Virgin

1.  Giotto, “The Stefaneschi Altarpiece”
2. Fra Angelico, “Madonna and Child with St. Dominic, St. Catherine and the Angels
3. ”Filippo Lippi, “Coronation of the Virgin”
4.   Bellini, “Pieta” (1471)
5. Pinturicchio, “Adoration of the Magi” (in the Borgia Apartment)
6. Leonardo da Vinci, “St. Jerome” (1480) Raphael’s Oddi Altarpiece,  “Crowning of the Virgin” (1503) and “The Foligno Madonna”

Caravaggio’s Entombment

7. Caravaggio’s, “The Deposition” shows Christ’s hand brushing againstthe tombstone.Saint John the Evangelist and Nicodemus, the Pharisee and doctor of law, struggle to support his body.The Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene are bent toward Jesus.This painting was originally commissioned for a church in Rome but it was moved here when itwas returned from France.

“The Vatican Museums Under the Stars”  Exhibit is open from May 6-July 15 every Friday. Get your tickets on-line, get there early and proceed to the Sistine Chapel immediately. I was fortunate enough to almost have the entire Chapel to myself!!

After admiring the amazing art, helix staircase and sculptures collected by the papacy since the 15th century in the Vatican Museum, have a Vino con Vista by enjoying a glass of Cesanese or Montepulciano di Abruzzo wine in one of the charming neighborhood cafes like Bar Santa Anna or Pizzeria il Migliore on via Santa Anna.

Vatican Museums Helix Staircase by Giuseppe Momo in 1932

Dr. EveAnn Lovero writes Italy Travel Guides. To learn more about Rome visit www.vino-con-vista.com

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