At some point while visiting Rome, you will find yourself in a church. Whether Catholic, Muslim, Agnostic or Skeptic, you'd be hard-pressed to deny that it is anything but an awe-inspiring experience. After awhile, they do all start to look similar - grandiose yet inviting, while managing to illicit feelings of guilt for once eating a grape (or two...or three) in the supermarket. However, a standout was the Basilica of St. John Lateran, for no other reason than this right here:
This church was magical! As cliché as it sounds, a feeling of great peace washed over me as I stared up at those marble angels seemingly descending from the heavens. While I can appreciate the clean, simplistic lines of modern art, the level of detail in the sculpture and paintings of this basilica were far more impressive to me...moreso when you consider their age. Across the street from the basilica were the Scala Scanta, a series of 28 steps built in the 4th century. They can only be climbed while on one's knees and for this effort, a plenary indulgence is granted. I was going to attempt this, but the impatient tourist in me had other things to do; other places to see. Also, I wasn't really sorry for eating those grapes.
Another unique church I visited was the Capuchini Bone Chapel, partially decorated with the mummified remains of the monks who once resided there. Yes, it was creepy. But the scariest part was encountering the woman seeking donations at the front door. After welcoming us in Italian, we politely explained that we only speak english to which we received the lovely retort "You speak English? Well, good for you.". We were also sternly warned to not take pictures. And so, if you are curious, check this out.
Next up - the Vatican.
To be continued...