Just a hop across Rome’s River Tiber, along the Ponte Sant’ Angelo, is a entirely different city. An entirely different country in fact – Vatican City, home of the Pope, head of the Catholic Church. The Vatican is undoubtedly stunning. The immense Basilica of St Peter, and Bernini’s elaborately colonnaded St. Peter’s Square awes with all of the intended spectacle which is only appropriate for the centre of one of the world’s most prominent religions. The Vatican is home to some of the greatest art collections ever known to man – the Belvedere Torso, Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling, and Raphael’s vast School of Athens, as well as the peculiar site of the Vatican’s own troop of security, the puffy-costumed, beret-wearing Swiss Guards. But something our tourist Norms could never have hoped to witness, on their brief visit, was a parade of Pope Norm and the full school of eminent Cardinal Norms themselves. Spectacle never got bigger than this.
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