|St. Peter's Square at Dusk|
At the conclusion of our visit to the Vatican Museums, we took a shortcut from the Sistine Chapel to the basilica's entrance.
|Shortcut from the Vatican Museums to St. Peter's|
St. Peter's Square was filled with sightseers gathered around the Egyptian obelisk while others sought the shade of Bernini's colonnade.
|St. Peter's Square and the Obelisk|
|St. Peter's Basilica|
Swiss Guards are posted at the entrances to Vatican City. Legend says that Michelangelo designed their colourful uniforms.
|Vatican Swiss Guard|
The basilica's Holy Door is opened only once very 25 years by the reigning Pope, who knocks three times with a silver hammer.
|The Holy Door|
Behind the Holy Door is Michelangelo's Pieta, now protected by bullet-proof glass.
Along the length of the central nave, floor markers compare the size of St. Peter's to other great churches of the world, including St. Paul's in London and the Duomo in Florence.
|The Nave of St. Peter's|
Faithful visitors line up to kiss the right toe of a bronze statue of St. Peter or view a niche containing the body of Pope John XXIII.
|Statue of St. Peter|
|Body of Pope John XXIII|
Another niche beneath the main altar contains the tomb of St. Peter.
|Niche with St. Peter's Tomb|
All of the basilica's paintings have been replaced by copies made of tiny mosaic tiles but much of the original ornamentation remains.
|Mosaic Copy of Raphael's Transfiguration|
For more photos of St. Peter's Basilica, including Michelangelo's dome and Bernini's dove window, see my earlier post Rome and the Vatican from a previous visit to Rome.
Next: Rome's Jewish Ghetto and Pantheon Neighbourhood
The Vatican Museums