St. Peter's Square and Basilica

We walked by the line for the Vatican Museums this morning and immediately decided to do the basilica first. The line for the basilica was pretty long as well, but it was moving at least.

The inside of this church is difficult to describe and even harder to photograph. In the spirit of intra-church competition, there are markers all down the floor of the nave that indicate where some other famous cathedral would have ended. In other words, this is the big one, folks.

The bronze altar is 7 stories tall:

The dome:

Michelangelo's Pieta is behind bulletproof glass after Lazlo Toth went after it with a hammer in 1972. We know this because Ryne googled it when we got back to the hotel. Lazlo was never charged, although they did find him to be a "socially dangerous person" and he was committed to 2 years in a mental institution before he was deported to Australia. But the Pieta is still beautiful.

We went up to the cupola...even with the elevator, you climb 320 steps according to the signs. As the dome starts to curve, you get this effect:

View from the top, on a beautiful day in Rome: