Friday, 18 October 2013

Angels, Demons, Illuminati and Vatican City

Has anyone seen the movie, Angels and Demons? Well, for those of you who haven't the plot of the story is basically this, courtesy of Wikipedia:

Harvard Symbologist Robert Langdon in Angels & Demons
        The plot follows Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon, as he tries to stop the Illuminati, a legendary secret society, from destroying Vatican City with the newly discovered power of antimatter. Using ambigrams, symbology and a little history, Robert searches the Vatican and its archives to discover the location of the antimatter bomb.

So I how does this tie in to what I want to do Before I'm Pushing Daisies? Well, this movie (and the book, which in my opinion is much better) has inspired me to want to visit the Vatican City. Now don't get me wrong, I'm not sure if I believe in the Illuminati or any super-secret cult, but it would still be cool to visit the places seen in the movie: Vatican Library, St. Peter's Square, The Fountain of Four Rivers...well you get the idea.

shutterstock 65493556 200x300 7 Surprising Facts You Didnt Know About the Vatican
Vatican Code of Arms
In my research of this trip, I've come across actual guided tours that follow the plot line of the movie as exactly as possible. While I think this would be interesting, in my experience it's much more fun to explore on your own, do your own research and draw your own conclusions. For example, a few Vatican "Fun Facts" as listed below:

1) Vatican City has its own separate police force known as the Corps of Gendarmerie of Vatican City. It has really strict standards for who is allowed to join, for example: To qualify for enrollment as a gendarme, a person must be an unmarried male between the ages of 21 to 24 of good health and a practising Catholic. There are also minimum requirements of height and education. Not exactly a long-term job position!

2) The Vatican is its own country – and the smallest in the world. This fact is not new to most people, but were you also aware that there are only about 800 residents of this tiny nation with even fewer citizens? Vatican citizenship is not guaranteed by birth, but by appointment and is terminal, ending when a citizen discontinues residency.

st peters2 300x200 7 Surprising Facts You Didnt Know About the Vatican
St. Peter's Basilica. The largest Catholic church in the
world and yes, we checked!
3) St. Peter’s Basilica is the largest Catholic church in the world. In case anyone wishes to refute this fact, the Church has actually placed the measurements of the largest churches in the world in the marble of the Nave to prove that all other basilicas are able to fit within the Basilica.

4) The baldacchino, or the center altar of St. Peter’s, lies directly over where St. Peter, the first pope, is buried. It is 96 feet high, made from bronze mostly stripped from ancient Roman monuments such as the Pantheon, and the only person who is permitted to say mass at this altar is the pope.

5) St. Peter’s itself does not have a single painting. In order to ensure that that the artwork in the church would persevere, all “paintings” are actually mosaics.

These are some of the reasons why I find the Vatican on my to-do list Before I'm Pushing Daisies, but there's more to it than that. Vatican City is so full of history I don't think a single person could unearth it all if they tried, even given an infinite amount of time. I'm not sure if it's possible, but I'd sure like to try to discover some Vatican Secrets and who knows, maybe I'll discover the Illuminati HQ somewhere along the way.

Illuminati looks the same
left to right and upside down

Pictures and Facts Credits:\


  1. Actually Vatican City is an independent state, which is a little bit different then a country. Acts like a country, but isn't one. Also I studied the Vatican quite a lot in my art major class, what is your favorite piece of art? Also there are two different types of art, but Mosaics are meant to be on the ground and are composed silica. I forget the other, but the other is meant to be on the walls. :S Is there like mosaics on the ground? My memory sucks, I hated the unit on the Vatican in art because I had been going through three weeks worth of byzantine art history enough as it is and greek before that (my brain was dead) lol :P

    1. My sources said it was the same concept as an independent country...I guess its more of a semantics thing? I don't really know many specific "art" pieces - I'm more a fan of the architecture of the buildings and the ornate squares themselves. Far as I know, there are mosaic-type things in St. Peter's square, I don't know a whole lot about this state-country ergo why I want to visit!

  2. I've actually seen this movie and I thought it was amazing. I really enjoyed the story-line and how the whole movie was done. Since Vatican City is in Rome (I believe) would you want to visit any other areas that would be close to that? If it were me I would love to visit Venice!

    1. I'd absolutely love to do a European tour - visit England, France, Italy etc. I'm planning on taking the french immersion trip to Montpelier, so I'll be able to check that one off the list in march! I'm not a huge fan of boats (I get seasick) so maybe a city whose main transportation is on the water might not be the best choice for me!

  3. That's a very good film! Tom Hanks is awesome. There is definitely some beautiful architecture in the Vatican City, as well as in Italy in general. Is there anywhere else in Italy you would like to travel?

    1. I'm such a sucker for tourist traps - I'd want to see the leaning tower of Pisa, Naples (the birthplace of spaghetti [my favorite food!]), Santa Maria del Fiore in Florence, and for sure Rome!! And I agree - I absolutely love Tom Hanks movies :) they get me everytime!