Man, just look at this place. All the most famous Renaisance artists worked in some manner on this
church (2 out of 4 Ninja Turtles... not too shabby). The plan and dome was designed by Bramante and
finished up by Michelangelo. The solid wood altar below here is Bernini's.

The top of this photo shows a better example of the lettering I was talking about.
Those letters are as large as a 6 foot tall person.

The raised seat of the Pope.

The basillica is filled with satues and tombs of former Popes

Here's another. These Catholics apparently love leaving bodies laying about.

Another cool thing is the relics that supposedly reside here. In the center of this cross-shaped
church are 4 corners like this one. Each has a statue representing the relic that is housed above it.
On this corner is St. Theresa holding the Shroud of Turin. And above in that balcony is - you guessed
it - the Shroud itself. Not sure how they get to it, though. There must be a really long ladder somewhere...

The statue of St. Longinus by Bernini. He's the guy who pierced Christ's side
with a spear (Longinus, not Bernini). And supposedly above him resides the spear
itself. And it's a good thing too. If Hitler had gotten his greasy hands on it we'd all be
speaking German right now.

This church is 210 meters in length and 137 meters in width. For those of you counting at home , that's
689 feet long. Over 2 football fields fit inside this thing. Doesn't look like it, does it? But John Elway
couldn't throw a pass more than halfway through this place. Ok, maybe if he had one of those Nerf rocket thingies...

But the dome is an astounding 136 meters (446 ft) tall, making it by far the largest in Europe.

And that's just the structure. The Basillica is teeming with detail. See that painting? It's not really a
painting. It used to be, but after a century or so of candle smoke was destroying it, they remade it
as a mosaic. That painting is actually thousands and thousands of bits of tile. How stupid is that!?
(By the way that lady on the right should be getting The Ring any day now...)

And here's what Carl most wanted to see: Michelangelo's Peita. His first and greatest sculpture
(Michelangelo's, not Carl's. Carl's first and greatest sculpture involved Play-Doh).
The expression of this piece is absolutely astounding up close. With one hand the
Virgin clutches her son close while the other pushes him away, giving him to the world.

Mike caught some flak for this one though... he pissed off all the other artists of the time by
doing this so well. Then Raphael's uncle "sabotaged" his career as a sculptor by getting the
Pope to make him paint a small nearby chapel. It effectively took him out of the sculpting
business as he was lying on his back for the next 15 or however-many years.

Next up on the tour was the Vatican Museums. I swear to god, these guys have so
much crap they don't know what to do with it all.

One of the oldest examples of Greek sculpture is The Laocoon. This guy
figured out that the Trojan Horse was a trap, but before he could warn anyone
Posideon sent a couple sea-snakes to take him and his sons out.
Sucks to be them.


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