When we arrived in Italy, my friends and I spent an afternoon roaming Rome before we had to meet up with our tour group for the opening night dinner. We were on a tour with Globus, a company I highly recommend if you want a low stress, high quality trip. We were told we could head out on foot towards the Vatican, so we did.
The first time I pulled out my camera, we were here.
I got the feeling we were somewhere special, but I didn’t know details. I just thought everything, including this domed building, was beautiful and grand.
Nearby, we saw this:
We could see people climbing to the top, and none of us knew what it was, so we decided to check it out. As we walked towards this castle of a structure, we walked past this stunning bridge:
The castle and bridge felt familiar, but I couldn’t quite put my finger on why.
We ended up at the top of the castle where we had an amazing view of the city.
The view included one of that big, beautiful and grand domed building.
I learned the next morning on our city tour that the castle, the Castel Sant ‘Angelo, was featured in the Tom Hanks’ movie, Angels and Demons, which is why it was familiar to me. I also learned that the big domed building was St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest Christian church in the world. We had been in Vatican City, and I had no idea. We had stood practically within spitting distance of the Sistine Chapel, and I had no clue.
The next morning, as we ventured back towards the Vatican, and I realized where we had been the day before, I felt like a complete idiot. Though I didn’t tell anyone at the time, I was embarrassed at my own stupidity. I’d heard the term “dumber than a box of rocks.” That day, I stood convinced that the term applied to me.
And there, in the midst of my unblissful ignorance, began the best schooling I’ve ever had on world history, religious history, and the arts. There at the Vatican, on day two of my first ever trip abroad, Michelangelo, Rafael and I became friends.
Well, hello, gentleman. What an absolute pleasure to finally meet you.