Wednesday, October 28

{Rome} The Vatican Museum

Day 1: Vatican City

Our day was equally divided between The Vatican Museum in the morning and St. Peter's Basilica in the afternoon.

The Vatican Museum. Enormous. Beautiful. Gilded. Julie and I started out being such good tourists. Listening to each number on the audio guide. Ooooing and Ahhhhing over each ancient treasure. And then it occurred to us that we had 4 miles of museum to see. We needed to pick up the pace. It was hard to focus in the museum. Each and every surface of the building itself was painted or adorned in someway. My attention was constantly switching between the pieces on display and the room itself. Julie and I continued on but after about 2 hours our brains started to short circuit. I think there must be a limit to how much religious imagery and gold leafing a person can absorb. So, we hightailed it to The Sistine Chapel, walking with blinders and keeping our eyes on the prize.

The Sistine Chapel is the Pope's personal chapel and is also the place where a new Pope is elected. As you know, The Sistine Chapel is famous for it's ceiling painted by Michelangelo. I was prepared for the bright colors of the frescos. But I was surprised by the size of the panels. They were much bigger than I expected and we could easily see them without binoculars. I was also amazed at the figures in the corners of the chapel that appeared to pop out of the walls. They looked like statues. It was hard to believe they were painted, not sculpted onto the walls.

Julie and I spent about an hour in the Chapel. It was impossible to take it all in; to believe we were *really* seeing the famous ceiling of The Sistine Chapel. Information from my art history class in college came flooding back to me as I looked at The Creation and Last Judgement. The Chapel is worth every bit of hype that surrounds it. It is amazing. Every cell in your body knows you are somewhere special.

Since the restoration of the ceiling, photography is not allowed in The Chapel. It was sad to see so many sneaking pictures. I don't understand the lack of respect.

After such a powerful experience we needed to unwind. We headed to the closest pizza place ordered enormous beers, lunch and then sat quietly for a while. Um, really just a minute or two. We're pretty chatty.

A few pictures to share:

An example of the decoration that is found on the walls and ceiling of every room in the museum. Most are more elaborate than this, actually.
Exit of the museum. Cool, huh?
Writing post cards during lunch. Vatican City has it's own postal system separate from Italy's. It is also more reliable. Sending postcards from Vatican City is a popular tourist activity as the postcard has a Vatican City stamp. I didn't write down any addresses so I only sent cards to those I knew by heart - my mom's and my own. (I'll take a pic of the stamp and post it for you. )

A pretty fresco.


Heather - said...

Sounds like an amazing experience!! Wow! I hope I get to do that someday.

Unknown said...

You reminded me of our trip. We felt exactly the same way in the museum. Maya got so tired that she decided to take a 1-hour nap in Rafael's room:-) We have also started a tradition of mailing postcards back to us (addressed to Maya:-)from wherever we visit. In this way, we collect the cards and the stamps.

poppyart said...

were the queues awful?? i remember waiting a while in the queue and then having to motor through the museum before heading off to nowhere and our airport (ahh the joys of budget airlines!) Rome was a lot more than i expected, though. you almost trip over the ancient ruins!

Road Trippers said...

Shocking, I know, but I have never been interested in any of this until now. You have added Vatican City (and the chapel for sure) to my list!

Juleskis said...

I can't believe it has been a month since I landed in Lux...time flies! What an amazing, amazing time we had. I finally finished adding captions to my 605 photos. :) I will see you in a month!

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