This post follows us as we leave Saint Paul De Vence in the south of France and on to Rome where we spent 8 days exploring almost every inch of this ancient city. Rome’s history spans more than two and a half thousand years. While Roman mythology dates the founding of Rome at only around 753 BC, the site has been inhabited for much longer, making it one of the oldest continuously occupied sites in Europe. At the height of the Roman Empire, a quarter of the world’s population lived under Roman law. This made the empire one of the most culturally diverse societies ever known.
The reach of the Roman empire at it's height between 96 and 180 AD
Our first foray into the city found us walking around Saint Peter’s Square just outside of the Vatican and St Peter’s Basilica. Tradition and strong historical evidence hold that St Peter's tomb is directly below the high altar of the Basilica. Construction of the present Basilica, replacing the old St Peter's Basilica of the 4th century AD, began on 18 April 1506 and was completed on 18 November 1626. St. Peter's is the most renowned work of renaissance architecture and remains one of the two largest churches in the world!
Saint Peter's Basilica.
The columns around Saint Peter's Square.
The dome from within.
Inside the church.
Getting inside the Vatican Museum was obviously a must do, but extremely tiring, boring for the kids and way too crowded. We felt a little rushed through by the guide and found it hard to understand his presentations about the pieces that we were viewing. We wish we could have had a longer time here to explore more in our own time. The museum is immense, the pieces on show here have been collected by the Popes throughout the centuries including some of the most renowned classical sculptures and most important masterpieces of renaissance art in the world. There are 54 galleries to explore, all crammed to the rafters with the showpiece Sistine Chapel being the last stop.
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