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VATICAN

At only 110 acres and population of 842, the Vatican is the world’s smallest country. It is also the seat of authority for one of the world’s largest religious denominations - The Roman Catholic Church. It is also one of the world’s youngest nations. Established in 1929 by the Treaty of Lateran, Pope Pius XI finally admitted the loss of the Papal States in 1870 by the formation of the Kingdom of Italy. One of my most favourite photos headlines this section - the Spiral Stairs in the Vatican Museums. In 1932 Giuseppe Momo designed this famous set of steps for the Holy See. Today hardly a photographer, professional or amateur, leaves the Vatican Museums without having a go at photographing this architectural icon. During my recent trip to Rome I was fortunate to attend an audience of the new Pope, Francis I. The event was fantastic. The crowd cheered the Holy Father around the throngs of guests to the Eternal City. Although I am not religious, the experience was mesmerising and captivating.

ROME

Rome is by far one of my most favourite cities that I have ever visited. To me Rome represents both the creative past and modernity in one major European city. I spent a week there in 2013. I visited the many historic points of interest - Colosseum, Pantheon, Spanish Steps, Vatican City, Trevi Fountain, and The Forum - amongst many, many other places. Home to nearly 3 million residents and capital of the Republic of Italy, this city still feels like a small provincial town. And the people treat you warmly and as if you were family. I used this time in Rome to capture photos of local people, enjoying themselves by dancing, shopping and sightseeing their own history. Romans are a special people - sophisticated, cosmopolitan and friendly. I wish I could stay much longer than the time I had. And I can hardly wait to return to this city. Next time the only thing I will do differently is stay much longer.

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