Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A bathroom on top of St. Peter's Basilica

Saint Peter's Basilica is an amazing example of architecture, culture, the ability to hoard massive amounts of artwork from different regions of the world, and a lack of planning for bathroom locations.  Things might have changed since I was there in the summer of 2008, but damn, bathrooms were a commodity in short supply.

This is the story of stolen art, Swiss Guardsmen, climbing awkward staircases, and a bathroom overlooking one of the most important locations in the Christian world.  Yes, this post will be sacrilegious.  If you have no sense of humor about the Catholic church, then I would just stop reading now.  Catch up on my next post.

If you are an art lover, the Vatican City is the place to visit.  You can find everything - from every single corner of the world.  The Catholic church spent much of recorded history... appropriating... various works of art and culture from various locations that it had influence, and a lot of them are now on display across Rome and the Vatican.  Trust me, if you can think of a culture, odds are they are represented somewhere in the Vatican.  Talk about inclusion!

If you are into fashion though, this is where the Vatican takes the cake - so to speak.

The Swiss Guard look FABULOUS!  (Make sure to say that in your head with a lilt)

Gorgeous Darling, Gorgeous!

So, after we wandered around the various museums, took pictures inside of the Sistine Chapel (another story for another time), we finally ventured into the holy of holies.  

The inside of St. Peter's is nothing short of beautiful.  You can freely wander around, but there is a very pressing sense of quiet reverence.  As we did the usual tourist things, taking pictures of amazing artwork, we found ourselves at the base of the stairs to the top of the cupola.  Having done zero research on St. Peter's and having no idea that I had issues with vertigo - we decided to go to the top.  

These stairs are the most awkward stairs in existence.  I wish I had a picture of them to explain how it feels to walk around the inside of a cupola, with stairs that are extremely narrow, following no common theme on height, where the walls are slanted harshly inward.  It is like walking around inside of a carnival fun house, with the constant feeling of falling to your left.  Somehow we made it to the top.  What a view!

No Big Deal...

Now, as I have stated before, it was quite hard to find a bathroom around the Vatican City, well at least when we were there.  Also, public bathrooms in Rome and the surrounding area leave a lot to be desired.  If you have ever wanted to see what the gates of hell look like, it is probably a Roman public toilet.  

However, this was different.  This was the Vatican, one of the most holy and sacred places in all of Christendom.  

To the left of where that picture was taken is a bathroom.  If you are ever for some reason standing on top of St. Peter's Basilica and find yourself urgently needing to go, this is the place to do it.  Trust me.  

Also, it makes for a great story to randomly bring up at parties.  

The puns that suddenly become available to you are also amazing.

Holy Seat?  Get it?  Holy See?  God, I am going to hell for that one.  Sorry.

I am going to try to balance it out with an awesome picture I took while in the Vatican. 

  Lighting Effects!