Day 21 Vatican Gardens and Scavi Tour

Day 21
Nothing like putting in two spectacular things in one day! We spent the morning literally let loose in the Vatican Gardens. Sister Mary Angela (temporarily) traded in her passport and received an official Vatican Gardens badge, so we could pretty much go anywhere. Beautiful trees, hedges, paths, flowers, statues, grottoes...and after an entire morning there, we were only about halfway through it!
Sister Mary Angela with her badge
Taking a break and enjoying the scenery

In front of bamboo!

A typical view in the garden--almost
everywhere we went we could see the dome of St. Peter's

A beautiful fountain with a statue of an eagle on top
(and behind it is the monastery where Pope Benedict XVI lives)

After a quick bite to eat in a nearby pizzeria, we returned once more to the Vatican, this time for the scavi tour. Our tour guide led us down to the excavation site below St. Peter's Basilica, dramatically recounting the discovery of St. Peter's bones. Pope Pius XII had initiated the excavation and has the blessing of being buried just behind the tomb of St. Peter. (Pope Pius XI had his own share in getting the project moving, as he was the one who had requested being buried close to the bones of St. Peter!)

Thankfully, after these two big events of the day, we had some time for prayer at the Basilica to let it all soak in and pour out our hearts in gratitude for all the gifts God is giving us.

A few other treats of the day: A short visit to a nearby church that has a room where St. Paul was imprisoned for two years while in Rome...and an opportunity to see the lights at night on the dome of St. Peter's from the Tiber River (which wouldn't be complete without gelato)!
View of St. Peter's Basilica at night over the Tiber River


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