Click here for a map of Italy

Vatican City


The Vatican flag

Click here for a map of the Vatican City

The Vatican City for Christmas, 1999

   We decided to visit Rome during Christmas 1999. After a quick road trip to Nuremberg to visit the Weinachtsmarkt, we boarded a plane for what we hoped would be sunny Mediterranean weather. Although the sun was shining, it was unusually cold. A storm had blown through Italy wrecking havoc on the landscape and decided to linger over Rome for a couple of days. Sheena had found us a great hotel only a few blocks from the Vatican. The service was friendly and the room was beautiful, however, they were not prepared for the cold weather that had hit the city. We kept asking if the heat had been turned on only to be told that it had, but it would take a while to get the rooms warm. Two days later, we finally felt the heat! After settling into our room, we mapped out our path through Rome. During the holiday season, most of the museums shorten their hours and reduce the number of days in which they are open. Knowing this and having taken some time to plan our path, we decided to start seeing the sights the same day. Rome is an incredible city and can actually be called a living museum!

   The Vatican Day 1 After checking into the hotel and relaxing for a while, we decided to tour St. Peters Square and the Cathedral.  It was fairly empty of tourist and was being set up for the Christmas Day celebration with the Pope. While at the Cathedral, we toured the Catacombs and saw the tomb of the Apostle Peter. We were able to take some spectacular photos of the Pope's chair with the sun streaming into the windows above it. We were amazed at the streams of light reflecting in the area around the chair. After seeing the main area, we found the steps to access the top of the dome--most catherdrals in Europe have steps leading up and out of the dome. The stairs were an adventure of there own and the view of Rome from the top was incredible.

   That evening we took a night tour of the fountains of Rome.

Well, here we are. At the hotel elevator.  Only one at a time or get friendly!


  Bernini's colonnade; in the Piazza San Pietro.   St. Peter's from the Piazza San Pietro.   Sheena on the steps of St. Peter's looking back at Piazza San Pietro.   The canopy for the papal alter   The canopy for the papal alter.
  The light flowing into St. Peter's.   The dome.   The sides of the dome.   Looking down from the dome balcony.   The stairs leading up to the top of the dome. Note the tilt of the walls matching the angle of the dome.
  Sheena on the stairs leading to the top of the dome. She is standing up straight.   Eddie on the final stairs leading to the dome.   Sheena on the top of the dome.   Eddie and Sheena on top of the dome.   The view from the top of the dome of St. Peter's.
  Piazza San Pietro from the dome.   More views from the dome.   The gallery of maps.   Another hall in the Vatican.   Art in the halls of the Vatican.
  More treasures found in the halls of the Vatican.   Sheena on the Spiral Ramp.   St. Peter's and the Piazza San Pietro  prepared for Christmas.   Bernini's colonnade.  
  Sheena and Eddie at the Pope's Christmas blessing.   The nativity seen set up in Piazza San Pietro.   The nativity seen set up in Piazza San Pietro.   The Pope giving his blessing.   The Pope giving his blessing.