|Fountain outside the Vatican Museum-the pine cone represents eternal life.|
|The entrance to the Vatican Museum.|
|The Vatican gardens.|
|The Hall of Tapestries source|
|Ceiling detail source|
|The Holy Family Tapestry source|
|Ceiling in the Hall of Maps|
|From the Hall of Maps.|
Next we stood with the crowds in St. Peter's Basilica and took in the immensity of it all. Patrizia told us, "This is your home." Tears welled up in my eyes and my heart raced with joy. I couldn't believe I was actually standing inside of the main worship space of the worldwide Catholic Church! I didn't think anything could be better than this, but believe it or not, there was something even more spectacular in store for us!
|St. Peter's Basilica|
|The balcony where each new pope greeted the world.|
|Mother and Child|
|St. Peter's Basilica|
|St. Pope John Paul's tomb|
|Mass at the tomb-the picture above the altar isn't a painting at all but a mosaic!|
|Mass at the tomb of Saint Pope John Paul II|
|The elevation of Our Lord's Body...|
|...and the elevation of the Chalice|
Following our time at the Vatican Museums and St. Peter's Basilica we had some free time for lunch and adventure on our own. Paul and I spent that time walking the nearby streets, visiting some gift shops and, just as it started to rain, stopping in a restaurant for lunch. Something that we found to be amusing in every city we visited, including Rome, was seeing the waiters standing outside of the restaurants inviting those who were passing by to stop and have lunch at their establishment. They were quite the salesmen!
|Come and get it!|
|The quaint door at the restaurant where we had lunch.|
Next-Our last day in Rome and we see Pope Francis!!!
|The chefs in the kitchen. Paul and I loved how they almost looked like a portrait on the wall!|
|Our beautiful entertainer-photo courtesy Rita Fink|
|And the hilarious and talented guitar player-photo courtesy Rita Fink|
|Our wonderful guide, Patrizia!|
|The best spinach ravioli I have ever had in my life! It simply melted in my mouth!|
|Light and fluffy cake for dessert.|
|Bishop Don took a picture of our table. What a wonderful, holy and fun group!|
Each time we'd board the bus, our guide, Patrizia, would tell us stories about the history of Italy, about Italian saints and about the customs of the country she deeply loves. She even shared her own recipe for making homemade Limoncello with us! Limoncello is an after dinner drink that is meant to be slowly sipped and enjoyed.
Patrizia's Limoncello Recipe
Start with six pounds organic lemons. Peel the lemons and remove the yellow rind only, not the white pith. Immerse the peels in one liter grain alcohol or vodka. Put it in a glass container and close. Place it in a dark corner or room for a few months and then filter. Dissolve 3-1/2 to 4 cups sugar in a liter of water and combine with 1 liter of the alcohol. Place the mixture back in a dark corner or room for a few more months and then drink!
(Or, you could just go the liquor store and buy some Limoncello but I'm sure Patrizia's recipe or the Limoncello bought in Italy is much better than what can be found here.)