Castel Sant’ Angelo
Castel Sant’ Angelo.
The pope’s retreat in troubled times, the Castel Sant’ Angelo, was in fact built by Emperor Hadrian as his own mausoleum (tomb). The circular castle is a short and protected walk from the Vatican and now functions as a pleasant and interesting museum, with free tours in English on weekend afternoons.
The view of the Vatican and St Peter’s Basilica from Castel Sant’ Angelo.
St. Peter’s Basilica
The ceiling of St Peter’s Basilica, Basilica Papale di San Pietro in Vatican, in Vatican City, Rome.
St. Peter’s Basilica (as it’s known in English) and the Vatican Museums are one of Rome’s must-dos, even if you’re not a Christian and don’t like crowds, as the size, affluence and history of the place is fascinating while the amazing works of art are world-beating. St Peter is supposedly buried directly beneath the basilica’s dome, Rome’s largest at 41m diameter.
St Peter’s Basilica is homebase for Christians around the world and appropriately has the world’s largest Christian interior, with standing room for 60, 000 sinners.
Michelangelo’s wonderful Pieta statue (created at the age of 24) is unfortunately behind glass after attack by a headcase, but St Peter’s Basilica also offers a bronze statue of St Peter whose feet pilgrims line up to rub smooth, a bizarre marble-cloaked Death by Bernini and various other colourful creations though the majority of hand-waving white marble popes are extremely dull.
It is believed by many that St Peter is buried beneath the main altar.
The normal line outside the Vatican Museums, Rome.
And if the next stop after St Peter’s is the Vatican Museums beware the lines/queues which are always long, especially early in the day in the summer months but relatively fast moving and the sights inside are remarkable. It’s worth every hour spent in the sticky sunshine to shuffle under Michelangelo’s artwork.
However, if your Rome holiday is time-short there is a way to skip the queue. Vatican Museums information.