Here’s the next stop on my Euro Trip/Greco-Roman Adventure 2018 photo blog series: Italy and the Vatican! 😀
(Click here to see the first! haha)
So why did I decide to visit the aforementioned countries? Simple: I’m a devout and practicing Roman Catholic Christian and visiting the heart of my church/faith (a.k.a. The Vatican) has always been a dream of mine! Add to that that I’m a history buff, and Italy has always been on top of my “dream destinations” all the way back when I was still in high school!
To be honest, when my sisters were planning this trip, the original plan was really just to go to Greece. But since I’m the only one among us who hasn’t been to Italy/The Vatican, I sort of begged them to add the two countries to our itinerary — hence achieving our so-called Greco-Roman adventure! So, thank you, sistahs!!! 😛
By the way, one of the reasons why my ates agreed to go to Italy again is because they wanted to finally visit San Giovanni Rotondo — the place where St. Padre Pio spent most of his life and where his body/ultimate relic rests today! As I’m writing this, talking about the Saint is really timely because his heart relic is currently being toured in my country, The Philippines. 🙂 I think I’ll have a separate blog entry on how to go to San Giovanni Rotondo because it’s four hours away from Rome, so we literally had to spend an entire day (out of our total of five days in Italy) just for that visit alone.
For now, I’ll just give you a rundown of the places you can go to in Rome and Vatican City, when like me, it’s your first time, you have limited time, but you still want to make the most out of your trip!
So, where did the “Roman” part of this adventure take me? 😉
-where we stayed at one of the amazing suites of Domus Spagna (highly recommended!) located in Via Frattina — and just a stone’s throw away from other must-see tourist spots in Romaaa…
Piazza di Spagna / Spanish Steps
The Pantheon used to be a Roman temple but is now a Roman Catholic church
Arch of Constantine
P.S: Of course, a visit to Italy won’t be complete without some authentic gelato! YUM!!!
San Giovanni Rotondo
And then, off we went to St. Padre Pio‘s place — which is, like I mentioned, four hours away from Rome — but totally worth it!!!
Inside you can also find relics of St. John Paul the Great and St. Teresa of Calcutta
As I mentioned in my social media post when this shot was taken:
Today’s one for the books. I saw the body of one of the saints I always ask for prayers: St. Padre Pio of Pietrelcina. Yes, that’s right — I don’t pray TO them, I ask them to pray FOR me just like asking a friend to intercede or pray for me. As a devout and practicing Roman Catholic Christian, my devotion to saints has been one of the things questioned by other faiths. But I’m not posting this to argue or debate. In fact, there are many things about my own faith that I’ve still yet to discover; it’s a lifetime process, and I’m falling in love more with the Roman Catholic Church each and every time. When it comes to saints alone, the Roman Catholic Church isn’t the only church that has them. The Eastern Orthodox has ’em (I just came from Greece and have been a witness to the Greek Orthodox Church), the Anglican Church does too. But I don’t have all the answers; nobody does because only God has ’em. That’s why it’s more important to show love and respect. As another saint, St. Teresa of Calcutta, once said, “…for you see, in the end it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway.” ❤️
Personally, what I like about St. Padre Pio is his story on how he died to himself every day when he bore Christ‘s wounds (stigmata) when he was still alive. He helped and inspired A LOT of people, too, along the way (he still does). And the best thing about this is, he was just like you and me: a person. And if he did it, so could I. So could YOU. We are all saints in the making — we just have to accept that first and foremost.
And that’s why I love asking saints (canonized or not) to pray for me. They remind me that this world is temporary and the ultimate goal is eternal life with God in heaven. 😇
So, how’s your journey to sainthood so far? Me, I still have a looong waaay to gooo, but I thank God that His mercies are new each and every day 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼
And of course, there’s Vaticano! Someday, I pray that I’ll be able to return here with my future husband and attend the Pope’s sposi novelli wherein newlyweds are allowed “to appear for the papal blessing within the first two months of marriage…” Heehee. But until then, here are the places that sufficed:
The Vatican Museums
…yes, plural! Haha!
Warning, though: The museums are jam-packed with tourists! But you’ll definitely be in awe at all their collectionsss 🙂
I was finally able to see “The School of Athens” by the renowned Renaissance artist, Raphael, up close!!!
St. Peter’s Basilica
Aside from where St. Peter is buried, the Basilica also serves as the burial place of most popes, just like this: the tomb of Pope John Paul II (now St. John Paul the Great)
You can confess inside, too! I DID!!! 😀
St. Peter’s Square
There was no papal audience when we visited (it was summertime, and we were informed that the audience is canceled during that season), but hey, at least I got these decent jump shots! Wahahahaha!
And that’s it! Haha! I know, bitin. Five days may sound long, but that wasn’t enough to tour Rome alone! Heck, you might need a month or more to tour entire Italy — which I plan to do in the future!!!
I’ve said before that my priorities are changing and it might take a long while before I step on European shores again, that’s why I’ll forever be grateful to God for giving me this opportunity to achieve my travel dreams in my twenties. ❤
TO GOD BE THE GLORY ALWAYS AND FOREVER!