Not ready to say bye to Rome yet! There's still one more place that is asking for my visit - The Vatican!
The Vatican, as many of you know, is the headquarters of the Catholic church. It is located within Rome, but it has its own jurisdiction - a country of its own. The Vatican has its own citizenship, passports, license plate and soldiers. It is also the smallest country (or city state) in the world. So why is the Vatican a country? And why is it in Rome?
During unification of Italy in the mid-19th century, the Papal States resisted to be incorporated as part of the Italian nation. The negotiation to include the Papal State did not occur until 1929 when Prime Minister Benito Mussolini signed an agreement (Lateran Treaty) to give the Vatican City full and independent sovereignty to the Holy See.
Currently, the Vatican's absolute authority is the Pope. However, the country does not belong to the United Nation and maintain itself as an observer. One thing it also lacks is that it does not have its own taxes.
The actual square of St. Peter's Basilica is massive. The square itself is shaped like an oval, which symbolizes Jesus' huge and inclusivity of everyone. To get inside the church, you will need to line up on the side for hours. Many visitors come to this church for pilgrimage.
The statue below is the status of Peter. The reason why this church is called Peter's Basilica is because this is where Peter died. The exact location of Peter's death is where the alter of the Peter's Basilica. Beneath the Basilica sits over a maze of catacombs and St Peter's suspected grave.
The obelisk shown below was transported by Caligula's forces from Egypt.
Inside the church, you can admire its grandeur.
This is a famous statue where Mary holds onto Jesus. This sculpture is called Pieta and it is a sculpture by Michaelangelo.
An interesting story is that the Vatican has a deep secret passageway that extends for half-mile-long. These secret passageways are used as an escape route for the Pope. A famous case was Pope Clement VII when he escaped the Vatican in 1527 during the sack of Rome.
This is also another famous statue of Peter.
This plaque lists the names of all the Popes that have ever existed.
At the end, we were going to visit the Sistine Chapel. Unfortunately, we were too late to visit because the chapel's visiting hour ends at 5pm. We were there at 5:02pm. Bad luck!
Next: Off we go to Pisa and Florence!