This last vacation was one to remember, and with trusty camera in hand, I wanted to make sure that I got a chance to share a bit of our good fortune with you folks.  And speaking of fortunes--I now present to you the most elaborate, incredible historical landmark you've ever seen in your life.  The pictures can't possibly do it justice, but heaven knows I tried (excuse the pun)

I'm talking about a city unto itself. Actually, I stand corrected already.  Did you know that the Vatican is it's own country?   It technically is the smallest country in the world.  It's only .17 square miles.  Of course, it's the official seat of the Catholic church.  Our taxi took us right near the front gate.  It was astounding to see in person. I'm surprised this shot came out-my hand was actually shaking taking it!

Not content with this shot (because it was impossible to show the whole thing) I took out my handy dandy Nikon Coolpix pocket camera (the one that Ashton Kutcher advertises where you can sweep from left to right and it stitches all the photos together in a panorama)   Here's what came out:

And here it is from the inside of the "square", which was awesome in it's own right

There were TONS of people there, and this was on a Monday!

But to go inside was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and we only had a couple of hours to see the entire thing.  I was too busy snapping away to pay attention to what the tour guide was saying, unfortunately-plus we were so jet lagged that everything was going in one ear and out the other, but here are a few shots for you to feast your eyes over.  This first one is NOT the Sistine Chapel.  It's a museum ceiling.

Now check this one out - the massive interior of St. Peter's Basilica

St Peters Basilica

I've got to check my facts again, but I'm pretty sure they said that you could fit the Statue of Liberty inside here and her torch wouldn't touch the ceiling!  In fact, I just googled it, and it's true!  The SPACE SHUTTLE could fit inside as well!!!!!!

 

And the artwork?  You wouldn't believe it!

 

There are paintings by Raphael, Michaelangelo (of course) and so many others.  And remember-these paintings weren't brought in-these artists painted them right there!

If you want to read more,  the Vatican actually has a beautiful website.

(By the way, I have 750 more vacation pictures if you are interested!  lol)