Given that it was Christmas Day we had planned to sleep in a bit and meet my family a little bit later (10:30) near the Vatican. Our plan was to meet outside the Vatican walls and proceed into St. Peter’s Square in order to listen to the Pope give his Christmas address. Amazingly, our plan worked.
We met outside of the walls and walked as a group into St. Peter’s Square finding it to be less crowded than we initially had feared (still about 30-40 minutes before his speech). We managed to get within 10-15 people of the northwest corner barricade, all-in-all a really good spot to watch. As the time for his appearance and address approached the square became more and more crowded, to the point that it was filled out to the very edges. Pretty neat to be as close as we were. (I should clarify that I am not Catholic but do find it very neat to witness events like this)
I definitely count myself incredibly lucky as this is the second time I have been able to watch a Pope deliver a religious holiday address in St. Peter’s Square. (My wife and I saw Pope Benedict give an Easter Mass on our honeymoon)
Some pictures from our time watching the Pope.
Once the Pope was finished giving his Christmas address we had decided, as a family, to have a long late lunch for our Christmas day meal. We met the owner (Frederico) the previous day and he was at the restaurant when we returned ensuring we were well taken care of. It was a good experience and I think we all enjoyed the chance to spend a couple of hours together celebrating Christmas.
After our long meal (2.5+ hours) we strolled leisurely back towards the Spanish Steps doing some window shopping along the way. We were surprised, but happy, at the amount of people out and about on Christmas Day. Made for a very fun atmosphere.
Sorry for the quality of the above picture but the lighting was difficult to capture just how magnificent the ceiling of this church is. We went there on the recommendation of the aforementioned Frederico and it was amazing. The church is tucked into a small piazza behind and to the left of the Pantheon. Well worth it to go out of your way to find this church.
My wife really liked this one 🙂
Alright, one more day in Rome with my family to blog and then we head our separate ways. My wife and I went on to Barcelona and the family continued onto Florence. Hopefully, I can get our Day 5 post out tomorrow. Until then, enjoy!