Rome, Italy – Day 2 (Vatican Museum & The Sistine Chapel)

After touring St. Peter’s Basilica, we headed over to the Vatican Museum which would eventually (many hours later) lead us to the Sistine Chapel.  The Vatican Museum is considered one of the best museums in the world.  Sadly, I am not very knowledgeable in the area of art – I most definitely should have paid closer attention to my Humanities class in high school (sorry Mrs. Nicholades – to make it worse I know I’m butchering her name).  However, I most definitely can appreciate the art that I’m seeing even if I can’t explain or understand the meaning of the work of art itself.

The Museum was founded in the 1600s and is a maze of rooms that eventually leads up to the Sistine Chapel.  The Museum was mobbed when we were there – a slow shuffle from room to room.  Kind of like going thru Jordans Furniture, you must walk thru all the rooms to get to your final destination.  This is a good thing and a bad thing.  Certainly I was impressed by all the works of art and there were many jaw dropping moments when looking at the walls and ceilings that you just couldn’t imagine someone creating such magificent things and not only that but preserving them for hundreds and in some cases thousands of years.  However by literally the 50th room (there are 54 rooms in the museum) I was about done and ready to get on with the show – the Sistine Chapel.

Unfortunately I don’t remember which gallery these were from and when I went to the Vatican website, it wasn’t that helpful.  But regardless you can get a sense of some of the art we saw on our tour.
We were surrounded by frescos, busts, statues and even tapestries. By far, the favorite of Josh and I was the Gallery of Maps. My pictures do not do it justice – for more info, check out wikipedia – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Gallery_of_Maps.
Gallery of Maps – by far the favorite of Josh and I!
View from one of the windows of the museum
Again unforunately I don’t know the names of these or which galleries they were in, but they all captured my attention in some way.
Even the Vatican needs promotional items!!  Who doesn’t want a Sistine Chapel USB?  Maybe I should be doing business here???
Near the gift shop Todd noticed these doors.  Beautiful and ornate, at first I just nodded my head in appreciation, but then Todd pointed out something I never would have noticed – each detail is actually it’s own piece of wood.  These are not engraved into the door – they are actually assembled using the most minute pieces of wood.  Now this to me is awe inspiring!

Eventually we came to the Sistine Chapel.  Unfortunately pictures are not allowed in the Chapel.  I will say that again, I’m not that knowledgeable but after 2 hours of facing painting after painting, I don’t think I appreciated it.  There are people who will read this and damn me for my lack of enthusiasm about this national treasure.  However, I found it a bit anticlimatic.  I wish we had seen the Chapel first.  By then I wouldn’t have been exhausted and overexposed to all these amazing works of art.  I also have to say and maybe this is my ignorance (though I’ve spoken to several people since and they also thought this), that I had expected the Chapel to be round.  It is not in fact round, but is rectangular.

Anyways, not to downplay this part of our whirlwind tour of Rome because I’m so glad we got a chance to see these phenominal works of art, but we still have the rest of the day to cover (between the museum and St. Peter’s we were done by around 1PM) and all of Sunday as well!!

Julie

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