Today was the day to cover up for the things we didn't do in the Vatican the day before, i.e. completing the visit to St Peter's Basilica. Amongst other things, we went down into Sacre Grotte Vaticano, the tombs to see the sarcophaguses of the old popes. Another astounding piece in the basilica is Bernini's Baldacchino. It consists of bronze and stands 29 meters high in the center of the church.

Picture of me and Emilia inside St Peter's Basilica

A really depressing thing is that they have used bronze from my (beloved) Pantheon to make it, since it was apparently a shortage of bronze during the construction. If you look at the façade of Pantheon, in the triangular-shaped area, you can see the holes where they extracted the bronze. Evidently, they have also taken stone from the Colosseum and used it in the basilica. Apparently the catholic church gets away with anything sometimes...

Picture of Michelangelo's Pietà

Seeing the statue of St Longinus, the Roman soldier who supposedly stabbed Christ in the side with a spear and then converted to Christianity, and the locked vault above him that is said to keep a piece of that actual spear, gives you a tingling feeling. There's also a statue of St Veronica, the woman who gave Christ her cloth to wipe away the blood from his face that the thorn crown caused, while he was carrying the cross. The story goes that he left an imprint of his face on it, and above her statue is a vault that is supposed to contain a piece of that cloth. Another vault is said to contain a piece of the cross Christ was crucified on.

We also made sure to take another look of Michelangelo's famous Pietà sculpture

At lunch time we went down to the restaurant where we had assembled the previous day, for the tour of the Vatican Museums, and had some lunch. Just when we were done and about to leave, Douglas (the tour guide) came in and walked straight up to Emilia. She was really happy to see him and he uttered a lovely comment, something like:

That smile just makes my day!

That smile just makes my day!

Then it was time for the ultimate trial of the day: to climb all the stairs to the top of the Dome of St Peter's Basilica. I put on a back pack we had borrowed to carry Emilia in and started up the stairs. They were long, winding and askew, but finally we made it to the top. I vaguely remember St Paul's in London being a tougher climb. At least, for my self esteem, some people were impressed that I had managed to carry her all the way to the top.

Picture of Fredrika and Emilia at the top of St Peter's Basilica's dome

The view from up there was a beautiful, and you could see almost all of Rome. We spent some time up there, and then climbed down again. Once down, we did one last sweep of the inside of the basilica before we left.