The Papal Palace Party 2007

As part of this past weekend’s events, one of the more notable goings-on was the opening of the Apostolic Palace (i.e. the pope’s private quarters) to the public, immediately following the Consistory, for a meet-and-greet with all the new cardinals. Obviously, not a chance to be passed up, I went. Luckily too I happened to get a few pretty nifty pictures (that I will very likely never be able to snap again!). So, without further adieu…

Here is a shot of one of the cardinals greeting his respective well-wishers in the palace's main sala. The newly appointed members of the College of Cardinals were seated (like this) throughout about four or five rooms, doing similarly. It was really a sight to behold, not to mention quite an unusual group to be meandering throughout: European aristocratic-types, royalty (I can only assume), artists, politicians, bishops, priests, married couples, little kids in baby strollers, everybody! By the end of the night, virtually the whole city of Rome had tromped through the pope's personal digs.

Another picture to the right, perhaps one of the most interesting views of the night, is out the window of the great room, looking across the front façade of St. Peter's Basilica; you often see this notable white edifice, but never from such a unique perspective... and from so close! This is what the Holy Father sees everyday on his 'commute' to and from outside events. Not too bad, if you ask me. I certainly thought it was worth the post.

And speaking of nice views, with all the artwork in the building's huge rooms, there is always something new to look at. This picture of the grand room's ceiling is evidence of that. The two rooms in the picture are both ornately painted from top to bottom, and are separated in the doorway by a large marble carving of curtains, suspended in midair by a few life-like little angels. Usually things like this are in museums, so imagine the shock on my friend's face when he leaned up against the wall and then quickly realized he had just been 'smearing' a 300-year-old work of art!

As interesting as all the artwork was, though, what we found outside was far more impressive. With so many people (and so little added security measures, I might add), the unsuspecting seminarian might have aimlessly wandered out the door, down the steps, and into the Vatican gardens. Fortunately for us, however, we knew exactly what we were doing; a private romp through the pope's gardens is quite nice (especially if you don't get caught), and the views of the basilica from behind are even better than from the front.

While I cannot guarantee any similar 'tours' for those who come to visit in Rome, I certainly promise you that I'll try!

Finally, no intrusive trip to the Vatican would be complete without a look at what makes it really unique from the rest of the world: Latin ATM's. That's right. I had always heard about this, but never actually believed it... until I saw it. For all you doubters out there, there really is a place on earth where you can get quick-cash from a machina automatica apscedens. If that isn't an oxymoron, I don't know what is...

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    # by Anonymous - November 28, 2007 at 3:31 PM

    Great post! I esp liked the view of St Peters from the papal residence. I've stood in the courtyard looking up at his windows & wondered what it looked like from his perspective. Thanks.