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We  made sure to have plenty of hours set aside to visit our "front yard" Piazza San Pietro (St. Peter's Square).  Most people going to Rome wind up here.  A real crossroads-of-the-world type place.  Below are a few pictures from the piazza.




A stitched picture from the roof garden of the building where we stayed.




St. Peter with his Keys to the Kingdom of Heaven.  Above him are (l. to r.) Christ the Redeemer, St. Andrew, St. John the Evangelist, and St. James the Younger.  The statue of Peter stands at the left end of the bottom of the steps going into the basilica.





The north side of the colonnade by Bernini with the fountain by Carlo Maderno.




The bells of St. Peter's with statues of St. Thaddeus to the left and St. Matthew to the right.  The basilica has 6 bells in its carillon ranging in weight from 572 lb to 10 tons. 




The intersection of Via della Conciliazione and Piazza Pius XII in front of St. Peter's Square.  The busses keep coming all day.  I'd go up to the roof with my espresso at 6 in the morning and look down on the piazza and they were already starting to arrive.  At 10 pm before bedtime, the last were just leaving.  Obviously there's not that much room allocated for parking so I guess they go elsewhere for more passengers.




Other early risers are the operators of these Pakistani roach coaches.  There are dozens of them in the area.  Surprisingly, the quality of sandwiches and such are not that bad.  The prices are astronomical though.  An 8 ounce Coca-Cola is $7.50.




Every Sunday at noon, crowds gather in St.Peter's Square to recite the Angelus and receive a blessing from the Pontiff.  He's in the second window from the right, top floor in the picture.




A closer view of him.  The sound system is fully up to the job though.  We sat through the Angelus both weekends we were there but we sat on the roof of our building on the opposite side of the piazza.  Even there, he could be heard quite well.




At the right end of the front steps going into the basilica is the statue of St. Paul.  The scroll he holds refers to his Epistles.  The sword in his right hand has two significances:  he often referred to the tongue of Christ as the sword of the Church.  Also, since he alone of the Apostles was a Roman citizen, he could not be crucified under Roman law.  He asserted this privilege when he was sentenced to death and was decapitated by a sword.




The base of the obelisk in the middle of the piazza.  The original ancient Egyptian portion is that part above the 4 lions with intertwined tails.  The dedication is to Pope Sixtus V, the Pontiff who in 1586 had it relocated to it's present position.  It took a bit of planning since it's 135 feet tall.



The obelisk was originally in the center of Nero's Circus about a hundred meters south of it's present location.  The obelisk is named The Witness because it's the only object here known to have been witness to the crucifixion of St. Peter.




It has a bronze cross mounted at the top which contains a small sliver of the True Cross.




The obelisk acts as a Wind Rose.  There are 16 of these marble plates in the piazza surrounding the obelisk which define wind direction.




The obelisk also acts as a sundial with its shadow pointing noon to one of these marble plates, each indicating a zodiacal sign.




Spaced around the top of the colonnade are 140 statues of saints, each about 20 feet tall.




A variety of law enforcement patrols the piazza.  Here are some Rome metro police.




The end of the left colonnade.  There is a total of 284 columns in rows of four and 88 pillars in the total colonnade.




There are many visiting religious pilgrims around..





Religious comes in all sizes, shapes, and colors too.





So do the police.  I think these are a SWAT team from the Carabinieri.  I didn't want to be too curious and ask.




Saints and birds.




The fountain on the south side by Bernini.




Rome city police with a vehicle suited for getting through crowds without too many casualties.  Not much good for high speed pursuits though.




A walk after dark in the piazza is pleasant, quiet, and safe.  This is the south colonnade.





The Bernini fountain at night.




The night before a Papal General Audience.  The piazza has been cleaned and 15,000 chairs set out neatly.




It's ironic that, of all the emperors, kings, generals, statesmen, philosophers, poets, artists, and sculptors produced by Rome over its multi-millennial existence, the man who wound up with the most statues was a Galilean fisherman with a message.