When I was a kid I did a book report on Michelangelo. Of course, that made me want to one day visit the Vatican. Thirty years later, there we were...
First of all, the day we went was a typical day touring the Vatican...crazy! People lined up to get in. Thank goodness we were part of a tour and had a specific tour time which meant no waiting. Unfortunately, it didn't keep us from the crowds. We met up w/ our tour guide, I think her name was Maria, where we got our little headphones so we could hear Maria as we walked through the Vatican. We started out in the museum. We went through a few (I think) long hallways, one was lined w/ tapestries in which the eyes seemed to follow you (one was Jesus watching all. the. time. :D ), another is the Hall of maps (16c maps cover the walls). Here are some pics:
It was incredibly hard to get a feel for beauty of teh works in the museum. The crowds were so big and it was like being in a cattle drive, just shuffling along.
We left the museums and walked outside before heading into the Chapel. There was this spring-fed fountain that Michelangelo used to drink from when he worked on the Sistine Chapel. He lived until his 80's and that was back when living into your 40's/50's was considered good. So, we all drank, too. Can't hurt. ;)
*sigh* It didn't get any better in the Sistine Chapel with "feeling". I don't want to sound like it's not breathtaking, b/c it is, but it's so hard to "feel" the work when you're sharing it with hundreds of other people. Also, you know how when you're talking on a walkie talkie and the other keys his mic to talk and therefore breaks into what you're saying. Well, I couldn't hear half of what Maria was saying b/c we kept getting those breaks. Finally, I look at Charlie and HE'S PRESSING THE SPEAK BUTTON!!!! Argh! It was him the whole time!! On my "radio" my speak button was covered w/ a sticker, but his wasn't, so he didn't realize what he was doing, but oh. my. gosh. I was so annoyed, not b/c I couldn't hear, but b/c he was interfering w/ everyone else. Later on I did notice another kid doing it, so it wasn't all Charlie, but good grief!!! It's kind of funny, now, but at the time I was annoyed!!
The Sistine Chapel The ceiling are paintings, by Michelangelo, of the stories of Genesis. The back wall is the Last Judgement. Two very interesting parts are Michelangelo's self-portrait with him holding his "flayed" skin (b/c of the criticisms he was subjected concerning his work) and the pic of "the Pope's own Master of Ceremonies, Biagio da Cesena, said "it was mostly disgraceful that in so sacred a place there should have been depicted all those nude figures, exposing themselves so shamefully, and that it was no work for a papal chapel but rather for the public baths and taverns," Michelangelo worked da Cesena's semblance into the scene as Minos, judge of the underworld" which included the ears of a donkey. When Biagio da Casena complained to
the Pope, the Pope said the painting couldn't be changed b/c "his jurisdiction didn't reach hell." LOL
Next we headed to the grottoes of the Popes, where we were able to see the stone of Pope John Paul II, the crypt of St Peter, below the altar which the floor above in the Basilica (how do you even wrap your brain around that??) and Pope Pius XI (91 Popes in all as well as some other revered Catholics). I didn't know this, but Pope JPII was buried in the space which was vacated in 2001. Seems the space used to be the tomb of Pope John XXIII. When he was beatified by Pope JPII in 2000 he was moved to St Peter's BAsilica and was interred in a glass coffin b/c of how well-preserved his body was. Interesting.
Next we headed up to St Peter's Basilica, Guide to Ste Peter's Basilica:
Michelangelo's Pieta which he sculpted at the age of 23! It is behind bullet-proof glass b/c a crazy guy came into the basilica in the early 70's and damaged the Pieta.
We were able to take pics in the Basilica b/c all the "paintings" are actually mosaics. Look at this pic and you'll be able to see the tiny pieces that make up this work:
Below this picture is the body of Pope Innocent XI, another pope in a glass coffin. What's amazing is that Pope Innocent died in 1689!
Picture of the other glass enclosed Pope John XXIII:
Confessionals (at one time during the year the Pope will receive confessions, although no one knows which confessional he's actually in)
Dome of St Peter's
Bernini's tomb of Pope Alexander VII.
It is a tradition to rub or kiss the foot of the statue of St Peter in the Basilica. When doing so the are asking for St Peter to open the gates of Heaven for them when they die. Notice how worn it is.
Pic of us in the Basilica. Yes my hair looks awful. Please disregard it. ;) Thankyouverymuch.
When then left the Vatican, got back on the bus and headed toward Florence.