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Ciao again! I know I’m posting two in a row, but I am attempting to get my Rome posts finished early because I have midterms this week!

After getting barely 5 hours of sleep Tuesday night, Kayla and I woke up early and headed to the Vatican! We learned online before leaving that the Pope does a general audience prayer every Wednesday morning at 10:30am in St. Peter’s Basilica Square.  However, it warned us to go early because it gets crowded very quickly! Lucky for us, the people at the hostel were very helpful and we were able to take a bus there! The stop we were dropped off at brought us into a side entrance. We went through security and before we knew it we had a really good spot for the prayer service!!

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People as far as the eye can see!! We were right along the barrier!!

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They had screens up so you could see the Pope if you were further away! So many people!

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Pope Francis, or Papa Francisco! This picture was zoomed in of him coming up the aisle on the Pope-mobile because I took a video when he actually went by us! It’s too difficult for me to upload now, but I will put it in the slideshow I am making when I get back home! He was less than 10 feet away from us!!

At this moment, I was filled with a strange mix of emotions again! As a Catholic, the Pope is the head of the church. I have always seen Vatican city on TV and read about the Pope…and there he was right in front of me!

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We listened to the Pope read a passage and then speak about it. Then we heard his message summarized in many different languages…French, English, Polish, German, Spanish, Portuguese and even Arabic. It was an amazing experience to take part in something with people from all over the world. At the end, we  all said the Our Father in Latin together. Then the Pope bestowed the Apostolic Blessing on the audience, which extends to our loved ones. (This blessing can only be given by the Pope, it is also called the Papal blessing). It was such an amazing experience. I feel so honored to have made the Holy Pilgrimage to Vatican City to hear the Pope speak.

Our second day in Rome, we returned to Vatican City to visit the Vatican Museum where Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel is. We had no idea there was so much to see in the museum and spent over 2 hours there!

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We could not take any pictures inside the Sistine Chapel, but it is one of Michelangelo’s most famous piece of work. We stood inside the chapel in silence for about 15 minutes looking UP. It is amazing to think that one man painted the entire ceiling. The longer I looked at it, the more life like the people in the paintings became. After studying Michelangelo in humanities classes at school, it was incredible to see it in person.

We were so impressed with Vatican City, we returned again on our last day in Rome…this time to visit St. Peter’s Basilica. We decided to purchase tickets that got you to the top of the dome.  It was 7 Euros to take the elevator, and 5 Euros to take the stairs…and as cheap college students, the stairs it was!!

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It is 551 steps total to get to the top. And let me tell you, the stairways just keep getting tinier and tinier the higher you get!! We didn’t really know what we were getting ourselves into when we first started, but it was worth it! After a while, you reach a door that brings you out into the actual church. You look down on the altar and everyone below! There is a very high fence but here’s a picture to show how high up we were!!

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And for those people who know I am afraid of heights…I made it!! And took this picture as proof!!

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And here’s the view from the bottom! We were up in the dome area where all the windows are!! After that, we followed the line of people out another door and up some more windy spiral stairs!! (We thought they would never end!)

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But 551 stairs later, we could feel a cool breeze and see sunshine! And once we made it outside, at the very top of the dome…this is what we saw…

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This was my favorite part of my trip to Italy. It was so beautiful.

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A seemingly never ending view of Rome…

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Even zoomed in, the people look like ants!

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And another picture as proof that I was there!! (Not the best, but hey what do you expect after I just climbed 551 stairs?!)

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On our way down we stopped outside on the normal roof of the Basilica, and this is a picture of where we just were, up at the very top by the white pillars.

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Just hanging out on the roof top!!

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I was amazed at how huge the statues on top of the Basilica were, because from below they don’t look so big!

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Now you can see how massive they really are, because of the people standing by the statue!

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So now let me show you a view from the bottom again… See those statues on top…they are actually massive! (That’s where I was on the roof) And see that tiny part of the dome at the top…I was up there too! Just trying to put it all into perspective how awesome it was!!

And what goes up, must come down…551 steps down! When we came out of the staircase we were inside the Basilica so we decided to walk around for a little!

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Holy water!

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The statue of St. Peter! People line up to touch and kiss the foot of the statue asking for St. Peter’s blessing! The statue is over 800 years old, and the feet of the statue are worn down from so many visitors touching it! Of course Kayla and I touched the feet of the statue…so now I have the Pope and St. Peter’s blessing…what a holy week!

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And lastly, wandering around the Basilica, we stumbled upon another of Michelangelo’s famous pieces: The Pieta! I wrote a paper on this statue in humanities my freshmen year! Really awesome to see it in person!

To say the least, Rome was an incredible trip. I somehow managed to get around the city all three days with a cold, saw some pretty historic sites, was blessed by the Pope, observed Michelangelo’s masterpieces…and of course tried gelato, pizza & wine!

What can I say besides Rome was good to me!?

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Ciao bellas! xoxo

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