Mondays, when most of the monuments in Rome are closed, St. Peter’s Basilica is open to all to gape at its impressive decoration, enormous stature and soaring dome. So, I took myself to church. Having already been to St. Peter’s Basilica a few times, as well as the Vatican museums, I skipped the long line winding around the compound to see the Sistine Chapel and other amazing works the Vatican safeguards. I had made a promise: Monday was the day of the terza prova, and I said I would go say a prayer for our studentessa on her exam day. After all, I have much to be thankful for, as well, and to acknowledge it in the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament wouldn’t hurt. I managed somehow to remain ignorant of the fact that my favorite sculptor, Gianlorenzo Bernini, decorated the chapel. I was too focused on my thoughts to look around much, and we weren’t allowed to take photos.

The most enjoyable part of the day was climbing the 1102 steps up and down of the cupola. The dome of St. Peter’s is the biggest in the world, and is definitely worth the trip! For only 5 euro you can get an excellent workout and some wonderful photos of Rome from above. I think my favorite part was being able to walk on one of the balconies to be on the same level as the angels that grace the top of the building. They reminded me of tall stone warriors prepared for battle, looking out over the city.