Day 12 – Monday, November 10
This was our last day on the tour, and it was another good one. With sunny skies once again (and temps around 65), our first stop was to the Vatican Museum. With our group reservation, we were able to avoid the long lines. We entered without too much delay. We saw the highlights of the museum, which included a number of sculpting, tapestries, and large maps. At the end of the map section, e entered the Sistine Chapel. While the sides were painted by a number of artists, the ceiling was the work of Michelangelo. Born in 1475 (the same year as the building of the Sistine Chapel, completed in 1482), Michelangelo was called to paint the ceiling. It took him 4 years (1508-12). We was 33 years old when he started this project (he died at 89).
Leaving the Sistine Chapel, we entered the largest church in the world, St. Peter’s. The church is 196 meters long. Of the 266 Popes, 128 are buried here. The first church here was built by Constantine in 329 AD, but the present-day church started in 1506, finished 120 years later in 1626. Following the tour of the church, a number in the group climbed 450+ steps to the top of the copula. What a great view from here!
After lunch and some free time, our afternoon included a visit to the St. John’s Church in Chains, the early foundations dating to 326. This served as the residents of the Popes until 1305. Nearby are the “Holy Steps” supposedly by tradition were brought from Pilate’s palace in Jerusalem to Rome. It was on these steps that Martin Luther felt convicted and left the Catholic church. This would be the start of the Reformation movement.
We ended the day by visiting the Trevi Fountain. Unfortunately it was under construction. We then ended the day by visiting the Pantheon, a temple dedicated to Hadrian (2nd century AD). The temple’s dome is actually larger than the one at St. Peter’s Church.
We drove back to the hotel for dinner and bedtime since we fly home early tomorrow morning.
It as a great trip blessed by God in many ways!
Day 13 – Tuesday, November 11
We plan to fly home from Rome, arriving back in the States mid afternoon or so.