I am now back home in the U.S. and I am sad to say that this is my last post for Be International. It has been an incredible opportunity to document and share my Italian-European adventures.

For my last post, I wanted to share my last hurrah at the Vatican City.

Vatican City

What a cathartic experience visiting the Vatican was! Being raised as a Catholic, visiting this majestic landmark is on every Catholic’s bucket list, and now I know why. As it turns out, the Vatican City is not even considered a part of Rome; it is its own independent city-state. Once you step foot onto Vatican soil, Rome is completely out of view.

hector 1The first part of the Vatican we visited was an art museum that had portraits, sculptures from Ancient Greece and Rome, and tapestries from the Renaissance.

After rooms and rooms of different artwork, it was time to see the coveted Sistine Chapel. Upon entrance, security guards reminded (more like dictated) visitors to keep silent, put away selfie sticks, phones and cameras, and cover up their shoulders. The Sistine Chapel is much more than a painting of the two men joining fingers. It is a whole mural of the different phases of life, death, heaven, and hell. Besides Michelangelo’s painting, there are several other works of art by famous artists like Botticelli. Sorry I have no pictures of the chapel – security is very tight there and I wasn’t in the mood to get arrested or kicked out.

hector 2Next was St. Peter’s Basilica. This basilica has been around for centuries. Inside there are five altars suitable for praying and worship. Mosaics adorn the floor and walls accompanied by other priceless fixtures. One section is blocked off for weddings, which require a reservation seven years in advance, and a baptism area, which requires a seven-month reservation.

There are also some unconventional “items,” if you will, in the basilica. For instance, Pope John Paul I’s body is on display. You are not reading that wrong. His actual body is shown in a clear casket ready for visitors to see. Years after his burial, his body was being moved and it was discovered that his body remained intact; it had not decayed. Naturally, it was decided that his body would be on display there. The Basilica is also home to where the Pope gives his Easter and Christmas wishes. Outside of it, the Pope does his regular Sunday blessings.

hector 4Exploring the Vatican City was the perfect way to end my study abroad trip!

I am so grateful to Be International for selecting me to be part of the blogger family. It was a great experience and I am more confident with my writing. I also want to thank Clarissa, Vanessa, Olivia, Allynee, Brynn and Katrina for making my trip so memorable.

I also want to thank Mr. Kofford, Luca and Zuzana for leading this trip to Milan and helping us every step of the way. I hope all those who read my posts thoroughly enjoyed my blogs, and that I have convinced other SDSU students to study abroad in the near future.

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Hector

Hector Teran blogs from Milan, Italy in the summer of 2015. The Psychology major chose a writing-focused faculty-led program for his international experience.

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