Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Gates, lift high your heads!

From ANSA:
A new entrance with bronze doors has been built in the huge walls that have surrounded the Vatican City for centuries, isolating it from the hubbub of central Rome .
The gateway, which is on the north side of the Vatican, near the museums, will provide a fifth way in and out of the world's smallest state. The doors will swing open on Friday .
Vatican authorities ordered a fresh breach to be made in the walls in order to lessen the volume of traffic using one of the other gates, Porta Sant'Anna .
The older gate, manned by the colourfully dressed Swiss Guards, often becomes congested at the start and end of the working day as the underground carpark just inside the walls fills up or empties .
The new gate is actually an old one which was built in 1929 and then closed up again soon after .
Officials said the recently completed entrance will also help matters during papal ceremonies when crowds and security arrangements often make the two main gates difficult to use .
The sculpted bronze doors bear the Vatican coat of arms and the insignia of the current pope, Benedict XVI. Above the entrance, carved into the stone, is the Latin inscription: Benedictus XVI Pont.Max. Anno Domini MMV Pont.1, meaning that the gate was built under Benedict, in the first year of his pontificate .
Cool! I'll have to pop over and snap a photo.
BTW, worth a look is this site with pictures of the Gates of Rome. Of particular interest is the Porta Pia (site of the last Papal military resistence to the unification of Italy) .

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