After we had breakfast at the Vatican Museum part and toured the museum, we went over to St. Peter’s Square.
We were greeting with tons of people in the square. There were tons of chairs set up as well, but there was a crew breaking it down. The line to get into St. Peter’s Basilica was way too long to stand in for hours in 90 degree weather with no shade! We decided to come back early in the morning to beat the line and not have to wait so long.
We arrived early the next morning. The line was much shorter and got in within 15 minutes. There was a metal detector as well as an x-ray machine to screen bags and such. This is where the dress code was strictly enforced. In the Vatican Museum, it wasn’t. There was a guy who made the women cover up. He even looked at my camera backpack and said I have to check it in. I told him it has all my lenses. He let me through in the end. Phew.
It was tough to shoot inside the basilica once we were in. The available light was minimal. I don’t like higher ISO settings due to noise, but I had no choice. I did use my 70-200mm f/4 with VR to help and the VR did. The infamous Virgin Mary holding Jesus was roped off and I had to shoot from a distance. The 70-200 lens allowed me to do so.
There were a bunch of masses taking place at different times during the morning. I’m not sure if they were preaching different topics. Most of the clergymen had green robes. There was only one clergyman who had some red. I’m assuming red means higher up on the chain, and based on the Da Vinci Code movie. We did not see the Pope.
Patrick, from Philadelphia who I met out near the “wedding cake”, said to definitely go into the grotto where they have the past Popes buried. No pictures were allowed in there, and it was cool to see the history, and the art they were buried in. At the end of that section, it leads you outside where we saw another long line. This line was to pay to gain access to the 300+ steps to walk up to the top of the basilica. With the line being too long, and the sun rising right in front of the entrance to the basilica, there wasn’t going to be any good photography shot at that location. We decided to forego that part. Maybe sometime in the future.