Mater Ecclesia Mosaic
On December 8th, 1981,
John Paul II, before the recitation of the Angelus, blessed this
new mosaic image of Mary, Mother of the Church. He had survived an
assassination attempt six months earlier and felt that the Virgin
Mary saved his life.
Statue of St. Paul
This statue was sculpted in 1838 by Adamo Tadolini, a student of
Canova. St. Paul has a long sword in his right hand, while his left
hand holds a book. On the book is the inscription in Hebrew letters:
"I can do all things in him who strengthens me", from
Stations of the Cross 1-7
7 Stations of the Cross in bronze run along the
wall of the Constantine Wing as you walk toward St
Peter's. The other 7 Stations in stone are on the
opposite side, the Charlemagne Wing.
Checking your backpack is mandatory and free at
this location to the right of the basilica. It
also has the newest restrooms, and now you can
rent an audio tour of the basilica.
provides a covering for the Holy Father during the
Wednesday Audience, and from here he will ride the
popemobile around the Square to greet the crowd.
When outdoor mass is held in the Square (Palm
Sunday, Easter, etc) an altar is setup under the
Facade of St Peter's
Facade of St Peter's has many interesting features
including: The Window of Blessings, The Statues
and Clocks on top, and the Consignment of the Keys
Statues on the Facade
These 13 large statues
on the Facade of St Peter's are of Christ, John
the Baptist and 11 Apostles. St Peter's statue is
not here, but down in the Square.
Constantine Equestrian Statue
the North end of the Portico is Bernini's statue(1670)
of Constantine receiving a vision before his
battle for Rome. Since it is on the Scala Regia
leading to the Apostolic Palace, it can usually
only be seen through glass doors.
The roof of the Sistine is visible from St. Peter's Square. It's
from here that the famous white smoke announcing a new pope is seen.
Access to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel is a 15 min. walk
(north) around the Vatican walls.
As you enter
the patio on the North side of the Portico there
is a small souvenir shop. This is one of several
at St Peter's, the others being at: South Wing of
Colonnades near the basilica exit, Treasury Museum
entrance, and on the roof.
Cortile - North Patio
area called the Cortile, or St Gregory the
Illuminator Patio, contains the Cupola Kiosk, Exit
stairs from the Sistine Chapel, Exit from the
Grottoes, a Fountain and a large statue of St
Roof Entrance from Elevator
This is the entrance point onto the roof of St
Peter's from the elevator or stairs. It's
definitely worth the two extra Euros to use the
elevator. Before walking over to the entrance of
the Cupola, you can take a look over the edge of
the basilica down at the Sistine Chapel.
Inner Drum of the Cupola
As you enter inside the Cupola, there is a
stunning view down into the basilica. Walking
along the railing, you can see up close the large
mosaics on the wall. From here you can
choose to climb the 320 steps to the top of the
Cupola, or just exit to the roof level.
Restrooms - WC - Roof
Exiting from the Cupola, you'll find a convenient
WC and water fountain. Take a moment to
notice the bust of Michelangelo at the bottom of
Roof of St. Peter's
The roof provides some views of the Vatican and
Rome, and you'll also find a nice gift shop, and a
Exit from Roof to Basilica
Take the elevator or stairs down to the Basilica
level and arrive at the Stuart Monument. If you
like the unusual, the stairs provide some odd
historical inscriptions of people who have visited
the Cupola, and the tomb of Maria Clementina
Swiss Guards - Arch of the Bells
Swiss Guards at this entrance
to the Vatican will not let you pass, but gladly
Above this arch are the bells of St. Peter's, the largest with a
diameter of 2.5m.
Exit from the Basilica
the bottom of the steps is the no-return exit to
Vatican Book Store
The John Paul II Book Store is the only book store in this
area of the Vatican.
They offer a wide variety of books in multiple languages.