Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thanksgiving at St. Peter's Basilica

Did you know that they don't celebrate Thanksgiving in Italy? It's true. It's actually a holiday that is only celebrated in the United States...Okay, I am being very facetious. It may seem impossible, but I managed to forget this simple fact while I was visiting Rome a couple of years ago. Even then it took my family "abandoning" me to really make the connection. They really aren't so cold hearted. I was waiting to catch a flight back up to Dublin, and they had gone down to enjoy the sun in southern Italy.

Slightly bummed about my predicament, I had originally made the assumption that I would have to chill in the hotel, because all of the good museums and monuments would be closed...luckily my moron amnesia wore off quickly enough to realize that the Pilgrims had landed on Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts and not Sicily. Still slightly bummed abut wandering a foreign city alone on Thanksgiving, I decided my best option was to go BIG and OBVIOUS: St. Peter's Basilica. Nothing like visiting something BIG to put things in perspective. Now I wouldn't consider myself a religious person (I was raised a Christmas worshipping non-Catholic), but it is almost impossible not to be impressed by the massiveness and intricacy of the building. The fact that each slab of granite was raised to the top of the Basilica's dome by ropes and pulleys and not machines. Not to mention marble sculptures by Michelangelo and Bernini. St. Peter's is a can't miss in Rome - crowds be damned. However (for me), it is one experience in particular that stands out the most: climbing to the top of the church's dome. Never mind the view (although amazing in & of itself):
(*Thanks random tourist).

The actual process of climbing is fun and/or terrifying. You actually get to climb up and around the inside of the walls of the dome. You can even see the walls curve and narrow as you get closer and closer to the top. In addition, half-way through the climb you are diverted to the inside of the dome for yet another great view of the church floor:
WARNING: I wouldn't recommend this trek to anyone who is claustrophobic or afraid of heights.

4 comments:

Meriel said...

UNDERSTATEMENT OF THE YEAR:
"Now I wouldn't consider myself a religious person".

I second that St Peters Basilica is an absolute MUST in Rome but I almost got sick walking up the stairs (with slanted walls).

I found it odd that the natives (of Valencia, Spain) didn't celebrate Thanksgiving either when I was studying abroad. I spent that holiday eating Mexican with a bunch of other exchange students.

Lil' Boozie said...

While we're on the topic of Thanksgiving abroad, I actually totally forgot about my experience whilst in Paris until this post. A lot of people's parents came over to visit during that time (not mine, tear), so they brought along many of the traditional fixings with them. Everyone in our program celebrated together, and then capped the night off at the Moose. Those were the days!

Lil' Boozie said...

Mmm, I just wanted to add a link to a previous Moose post. It truly was a second home to me whilst studying abroad.

Molly said...

They have Mexican food in Spain...now I've heard of everything.