St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, Italy

<i>In September, Times staff writer Susan Spano took us on a head-spinning tour of Vatican City.</i><br>
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In ancient times, a low hill on the west side of the Tiber River in Rome overlooked a sports field, or circus, marked by a red granite obelisk from Egypt. In AD 64, the Apostle Peter was crucified and buried in its shadow, incising the place in history.<br>
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Today people come here to see Michelangelo's Pieta, the Raphael rooms, the ancient Laocoan statue or to study some of the crowning architectural achievements of the Italian Renaissance. Some just want to be able to say they've visited the smallest country in the world. Others come as religious pilgrims.<br>
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<i><b>Photo</b>: Inside St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, where women must cover their shoulders and men must wear long pants.</i>

( Richard Derk / Los Angeles Times )

In September, Times staff writer Susan Spano took us on a head-spinning tour of Vatican City.

In ancient times, a low hill on the west side of the Tiber River in Rome overlooked a sports field, or circus, marked by a red granite obelisk from Egypt. In AD 64, the Apostle Peter was crucified and buried in its shadow, incising the place in history.

Today people come here to see Michelangelo's Pieta, the Raphael rooms, the ancient Laocoan statue or to study some of the crowning architectural achievements of the Italian Renaissance. Some just want to be able to say they've visited the smallest country in the world. Others come as religious pilgrims.

Photo: Inside St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, where women must cover their shoulders and men must wear long pants.

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