place to assemble for the return trip. She also warned us to be aware of our belongings and to watch out for "pickapockets-uh" and "gypsies-uh." Had never been warned about gypsies before. How do ya know one if ya see one? Do they wear costumes or badges or something? Anyway, I considered myself warned.
We were told that the Basilica at St. Peter's and the Sistine Chapel would not be open until later in the day because there were ceremonies cannonizing five new saints. OK, so no standing in line to see something of which there are pictures in books. A bit disappointing, but Onward! There was an abundance of statuary everywhere...must have been sculptors everywhere. A priest gave me a rosary, and I saw the Pope on a large screen delivering a speech. No idea what he said or why he appeared to be green in the picture I took of the screen.
I wonder how far stone had to be hauled for all of this construction and sculpture. I heard that sometimes materials were "borrowed" from older buildings to construct new ones, and that some structures were significantly modified over the years. One such structure was the Castel Sant'Angelo, built as a tomb for the Emperor Hadrian and later fortified as part of the walls of the city. Loved the Archangel Michael at the top!
Lots of activity back at St. Peter's. There was a parade with drums and piping and flag tossing guys performing. I turned to see people in bright yellow T-shirts leading burros, followed by similarly clad folks on horseback. There were Bavarian looking girls too.
I suppose all of this was not necessarily the usual thing, but it must have been tied in to the beatification of five new saints. Maybe these groups of costumed people were from the home regions of these new saints. I don't know.
We got back on the bus, where a guide continued to give us information about the city in heavily accented English. She kept stressing that one needed at least a week in Rome to do the city justice. I'm sure that's true, but one must also take what she gets. It's life: roll with what you've got! She was explaining the significance of the colors on the uniforms of the Vatican Swiss guards. The uniforms were designed by Michelangelo.
"Yellow is for the sun-uh; blue is for the sky-uh; red-uh is for the bloooood-uh."
"What is bluedah?" came from beside me.
Um, I believe that's "blood."
Arrivederci, Roma!With confirmation of all passengers and crew onboard, we struck our gangways at 18:45, and our local Pilot boarded seaside at 19:03. Shortly after we let go all our lines and maneuvered off our berth and exited Civitavecchia harbour en-route to Livorno.