Today is our final full day in Europe and we spent it at the Granddaddy of the All (no, not the Rose Bowl), the Vatican!
We met our wonderful tour guide, Mia, for the second straight day and she brought us through the Vatican, starting the one of the papal galleries. We then met in a beautiful garden where Mia told the story of Michelangelo and the painting of the Sistine Chapel. It is really quite an amazing story to find out that Michelangelo had no knowledge of how to use the fresco technique. Once we entered the chapel, you were really taken back at how Michelangelo used color and light to make the paintings leap off the ceiling, almost like the sculptures that he was so famous for before the painting of the chapel. We were not allowed to take any photos or video in the Sistine Chapel to help preserve the paintings, so our only memories will have to be in our minds, but it was quite a sight to see. :)
Once we finished at the Sistine Chapel, we headed to St. Peter's Basilica...home of the Pope. The architecture in the basilica was also amazing and breathtaking. There were several former Popes that were enshrined as saints and Pope John Paul II has recently been moved into the basilica as he is nearing sainthood. After leaving the basilica and the Vatican, several members of the team stopped to purchase rosaries, etc. and have them blessed.
We split up for the afternoon and several of the staff members took in the sights of Rome, including the Pantheon, Trevi Fountain and the Spanish Steps. It is truly amazing the feats of architecture and engineering in Rome.