During my travels I have encountered a few basilicas, most recently in Malta and Poland. Curious as to what makes a basilica different from a church or a cathedral, I investigated and found that not only are they unique to the Catholic church, but have had special ceremonial bestowed by the Pope. So it’s not really surprising that this particular building has been designated as a basilica.
There was no particular event planned the day we visited St Peter’s, however the chairs for the congregation that doesn’t fit into the body of the building were patiently waiting for their next group of worshippers.
The size of the basilica makes it possible to accommodate visitors all the way at the top of the rotunda, from where there are fantastic views over Rome, the private Vatican gardens and the internal roofing of lower levels.
This way you also get to see the inside from two levels.
Alongside the more traditional style sculptures depicting humans
there is also amazing craftsmanship in the overall decoration of the building.
One of the things included in the special priviledges of a basilica is to have a canopaeum. In other basilicas it is only rarely used as only the pope may do so. I assume that here at St Peter’s in the Vatican it gets slightly more frequent use!
The architecture around the building appears to have been developed with much ceremony in mind.