The day started early with a walk to Vatican City at 8 o’ clock. The trek was a couple of miles to Saint Peter’s Square, but it definitely proved to be worth the time and effort. When we walked into the Basilica, it was almost unbelievable! The sheer enormity and expanse of the building, coupled with the fabulous art and history in the bronze doors, was enough to take your breath away. Some students even chose to pay in order to climb the 551 steps up to the cupola of St. Peter’s. The view from the top was outstanding and gave a visual panorama of Rome. This site and the intricately engraved statues and gold-leaf frescos in the Basilica reflected the amazing intelligence and imagination God has given us. And we weren’t the only ones who thought so, as Michelangelo showed through his paintings in the Sistine Chapel, which was our next stop. The huge rectangular room was covered in priceless art, which conveyed so well the characters and narratives of the Bible. In the museum leading up to the chapel, there were also many masterpieces, and we saw legendary works such as Raphael’s The School of Athens and The Transfiguration.
Soon after our tour, we went to our surprise visit to Verbum Domini (the Word of The Lord), a temporary exhibit in the Vatican that hosts pieces from a billion dollars worth of Biblical artifacts and manuscripts ranging from the first century to present times. The whole concept centered around displaying how the Bible has been disseminated around (and sometimes out of) the world. We saw pages of the Gutenberg Bible, the “He” Edition of The King James Bible, and the microfilm that was sent to the moon that contained the entire Bible on two square inches. We were very grateful to get a private early tour of the exhibits, thanks to the Green family, the entrepreneurs who developed Hobby Lobby, and Cary Summers, the chief operating officer of Museum of the Bible.
After this experience, we slowly slowly ventured back to our hotel, with stops at several vendors and most especially a gelato ice cream store, where the dessert was courtesy of the ever-generous President Davis. We also got pictures with the 60 Minutes crew who were filming in the square and in the process gave College of the Ozarks a little plug, which we hope they will mention on international television.
Overall it was a great last day in Rome, and we are looking forward to the great days ahead in Florence!
-Christian Lingner and Matt Junck