Category Archives: Travel


Rome – Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore

The Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore (Basilica of Saint Mary Major) is the largest Catholic Marian church in Rome and it is because of its size that it receives the title “major”.  The earliest building on the site was the Liberian Basilica or Santa Maria Liberiana, after Pope Liberius (352–366). This name may have originated from the legend which recounts that Pope Liberius was told in […]

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Rome – Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano

After our general audience with Pope Francis, we were just getting started.  We had a very full afternoon and evening ahead.  Next stop, Basilica di San Giovanni in Laterano (The Basilica of Saint John Lateran).   There are four major basilicas in Rome; Saint Peter’s, Saint John Lateran, Saint Mary Major, and Saint Paul Outside the Wall.  Although Saint Peter’s is usually thought of as […]

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Vatican City – Audience with Pope Francis

We woke up early Wednesday morning (about 5:30) so we could get to St. Peter’s Piazza for the General Audience with Pope Francis.  After a quick breakfast, we headed out into the cool, sunny morning.  It was a great day to wait for the pope. We approached the colonnade at the edge of the piazza, the lines were already forming.  We had to get through […]

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Rome – Evening Scenes

The evenings came early in Rome in November, long before time for dinner.  On our first evening in Rome, I stepped out of the hotel, walked 2 blocks, and had this view of St. Peter’s. I also found this stained glass window, but unfortunately, don’t remember where it was other than near St. Peter’s. Our second evening, we stepped out onto the street and saw […]

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Rome – Santa Maria in Traspontina

We were able to celebrate mass at Santa Maria in Traspontina, just a block away from our hotel, and only about 4 blocks from Vatican City.  I was certainly not expecting a local parish church to be as beautiful at this. There is an interesting history of this site.  Pope Alexander VI (1492-1503) demolished an ancient Roman pyramid on this same site (the Meta Romuli, […]

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Rome – St. Peter’s Basilica Interior

During Nero’s great Christian persecution in 64 A.D., Saint Peter was martyred, crucified, and buried in Caligula’s Circus.  After Constantine’s Edict of Milan (313 A.D.) Christians were allowed to construct places of worship. Constantine himself authorized the building of the Basilica of Saint Peter in 324. It was intended to enclose Peter’s tomb, the center of the structure.   When the Popes abandoned Rome during […]

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Rome – Vatican Museums – Ceilings

The Vatican museums contain an amazing collection of some of the most beautiful art in the world.  However, the museums themselves are also outstanding works of art.  This post will focus on the ceilings of the museums.  I don’t have descriptions for most of the photos, but enjoy the beauty. These next images are from the Gallery of the Maps, a corridor 400 feet long. Imagine […]

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Rome – Vatican Museums – Statues

The Vatican Museums originated as a group of sculptures collected by Pope Julius II (1503-1513). The popes were among the first sovereigns who opened the art collections of their palaces to the public thus promoting knowledge of art history and culture. As seen today, the Vatican Museums are a complex of different pontifical museums and galleries that began under the patronage of the popes Clement […]

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Rome – St Peters and Vatican City Area

Although the Colosseum and Piazza Navona are two of the favorite tourist attractions in Rome, the Basilica of St. Peter and Vatican City are the main focus for pilgrims such our group.  We were very fortunate that our hotel, the Hotel Columbus, was right on Via della Conciliazione just a couple block from St. Peter’s.    At the center of the piazza stands an Egyptian […]

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Rome – Piazza Navona

The location, size, and shape of Piazza Navona was dictated by the site’s earlier structure, the Stadium of Domitian (dedicated in 86 AD).  The Stadium was Rome’s first permanent venue for competitive athletics. It was patterned after the Greek model and seated approximately 15,000 – 20,000 – a smaller, more appropriate venue for foot-races than the Circus Maximus.  The Stadium was used almost entirely for athletic […]

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