Perspective is everything.
I was enjoying these tiny treats,waiting at the Fiumicino airport for my Easy Jet flight to Lyon, when I read a surprising email.
The flight I was waiting for had been canceled.
I had to leave the airport and reenter a different terminal, where Easy Jet and a crowd of frustrated people were located.
All the flights to France via Easy Jet had been canceled. They changed my flight (if there was going to be a flight the following day...) and gave me the information to book a room, free of charge, at the Holiday Inn in Rome (transportation, dinner, and breakfast included). After reading about the strikes I decided to see if they would change my flight to land in Geneva, since there was an even earlier flight and I wouldn't have to risk another French flight cancellation. They assured me that it had nothing to do with strikes. They were striking the day before, but this was somehow different.
The employee did seem to think it was a good idea (hopefully not just because she wanted to give my seat to someone else) so I went with it.
Life is funny. One moment you are waiting for a plane, and then you are on a bus!
Holiday Inn has an almost free shuttle that drops you off at this cafe, within 5 minutes of St. Peters Square. Although it was almost evening I decided to make the most of it and take the last shuttle in both directions, I left at 7pm and returned at 8pm. With drive time it left me with 35 minutes to explore. Since I have been to Rome a time or two I didn't mind the limited time.
St. Peters Square is located right in front of the Vatican, and so is heavily protected.
The Pontifical Swiss Guard just don't look quite as intimidating as the last guy...
Colonnades surround the piazza, and lead to the basilica. Bernini, who designed the square in the 1600's, said that it "had to give an open-armed, maternal welcome to all Catholics, confirming their faith; to heretics, reconciling them with the Church; and to the infidels, enlightening them about the true faith".
The 25.5 meter red marble obelisk was originally erected at Heliopolis, Egypt, by an unknown pharaoh, was then transferred to the Julian Forum of Alexandria by the emperor Augustus, where it stood until 37 AD, when it was moved to Rome. Which is all very convenient for me...
St. Peter's Basilica is one of the largest churches in the world, and is regarded as one of the holiest Catholic shrines; it is the burial site for St. Peter, one of Christ's Apostles and the first Pope.
La vita è bella.