The Vatican – the rock on which the Catholic Church is built. The beautiful gold trim that runs throughout the building will carry your eyes to breathtaking statues and paintings. Each work of art has a captivating story behind it and every brick seems to have seen some remarkable historical event. As stunningly captivating the exterior and interior may be, what truly caught my mind’s attention lies below the cobblestones.
The Vatican Necropolis lies beneath your feet as you lift your eyes to gaze upon the glory of St. Petersburg Basilica. As a student on the Shakespeare in Italy program, I was given the honor of traveling beneath the infamous city. Before entering, I was given a lecture concerning the history of the Necropolis. The Necropolis houses the deceased bodies of not only Christians, but Pagans as well. I did not know what to expect before entering. I was greeted with thick, dusty air and dim lighting. The tan walls surrounding our group seemed to swallow us whole. Our guide began explaining the various layers of the Necropolis. She pointed out the graves of men, women, and children. The maze continued and we all listened carefully to every historical detail of our ancient surroundings. Towards the end of our journey, we were greeted by the bones of Saint Peter. A feeling of peace, familiarity, and understanding surrounded me. It was remarkable to be in the presence of the bones of such an outstanding figure as Saint Peter.
After we emerged from the dense tombs, our group boarded the buses which took us back home to Due Santi. At dinner we discussed the experience we had just had, it was a bond that would tie us closer together.