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Rome is a magnificent city -- both old and new. It has so many things to see and absorb one could spend a lifetime exploring here. From the ancient ruins, to St. Peter's and the Sistine chapel, to the many beautiful fountains there is always something to learn about.

I was privileged to come here several years ago, with my camera, of course ! Take a look at the images I was able to capture during my stay.

Colosseum

Colosseum

This is a close up of the ruins of the colosseum. It dates from Roman times, some 2000 years ago. In its prime, this structure held around 50,000 spectators.

This is where gladiators would fight each other or animals to the death. It is also where numerous early Christians were fed to the lions and burned as human torches at Nero's order.

Unfortunately it is in a bit of disrepair today because of pollution and vibrations from surrounding traffic.

St. Peter's Basilica

St. Peter's Basilica

The Vatican sits in the middle of Vatican City which is a 100 acre principality in the heart of Rome. This is where Michelangelo's Pieta (emotive marble carving of Mary holding the dead body of Jesus) is housed as well as many tombs of the Popes.

In the lowest levels of the building you can look in and see what supposedly are the bones of Peter, although this is somewhat in dispute. It is a privilege to get to see these relics. Fortunately I was traveling with a well-connected priest who got us in to see the lower levels of the Vatican and the "bones."

The Sistine Chapel is next door and contains a magnificent set of paintings on its walls and ceiling by Michelangelo. The painting on the ceiling was a four year labor (1508-1512) and depicts the Biblical story of creation. The front wall was done later in Michelangelo's life and is a representation of the Last Judgment of Christ. It is more serious and darker than the creation work.

This St. Peter's Basilica from the front. Notice the majestic dome and entry way. Many people come to visit here each day.

Courtyard of St. Peter's Basilica

Courtyard of St. Peter's Basilica

The surrounding courtyard is done in the shape of an ellipse which symbolizes the church's embrace of all humanity. It has 284 columns arranged in four rows. Romaclick.com has a great deal of information about the Vatican in particular, as well as about Rome in general.

Columns of St. Peter's Basilica

Columns of St. Peter's Basilica

Moses

Moses

One more stop in our tour of Rome -- The Church of St Peter in Chains to see the incredible "Moses" marble sculpture by Michelangelo.

It was commissioned in 1505 by Pope Julius II to be designed as his burial chamber. The tomb was never finished, because the artist was called away to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

cptryon.org has many resources and lots more information about great works of art in Rome.

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