The excitement is palpable today as we take a stroll through the Via della Conciliazione, the route to Vatican City, a place like none other in the world. Men and women, young children, middle aged and in their golden years, pilgrimage here to experience the deep rooted spiritual connection common to those who have come before to bask in the glory.
Nothing demonstrates the profound spirituality of Christianity today more than this holy land that sits on top of a walled enclave of 110 acre within the city of Rome.
Vatican City, established in 1929, is the sovereign territory of the Holy See and the location of the Pope’s residence, referred to as the Apostolic Palace.
The Vatican is also home to St. Peter’s Basilica, the indescribable majesty of the Sistine Chapel, and the priceless art collection of the Vatican Museums. The territory which includes St. Peter’s Square is reached through the Via della Conciliazione which runs from close to the Tiber River to St. Peter’s.
The medieval Gardens, established during the Renaissance and Baroque era, are decorated with fountains and sculptures and account for more than half of Vatican’s territory. The Vatican obelisk was originally taken by Caligula from Egypt to decorate his circus and is its last visible remnant. The Gardens became the site of martyrdom of many Christians after the Great Fire of Rome in AD 64. Ancient tradition holds that it was in this circus that Saint Peter was crucified upside-down.
In 326, the first church, the Constantinian basilica, was built over the site that was the tomb of Saint Peter. The current Pope is Benedict XVI, born Joseph Alois Ratzinger in Bavaria, Germany. The Pope resides in the Papal Apartments of the Papal Palace overlooking Saint Peter’s Square.Tweet