Rome Trip First full Day-Day 2 part 1
After a wake up call at 6:30 am. No there are no pictures of this event thank God, we had a hearty buffet breakfast at the hotel. I am so excited because this is the day we will visit the Vatican Museums, see the Sistine Chapel, and the Pieta. This is one of the main things I have taken this trip for. I've wanted to see The Pieta since I was 16 years old and studied Michaelangelo in High School.
We are ushered out the door promptly at 8:05 am. We have a reservation at the museum and if we miss it, it could be a two to three hour wait before we could get in. We walk the 15 min. walk to the Vatican museum entrance and indeed there is the beginning of a long line there. We meet Winfred who will be our guide here and at Ostica Antica and wait while Chris and Winfred get tickets and whisper phones for us to use. Once inside I see my first tapestry. It is rather small as far as the tapestries of the Vatican go but still fairly large and I take a picture. I am impressed by the size of the place already.
The first tapestry.
Next we are given a run down of the general layout of the place by Winfred who is German and a very good Vatican guide. While in the square listening I view the millenium ball sculpture that rotates. I like it so I take a picture.
Then we are on to the square where the gardens are. There is beautiful Majolica on the tiles on the building. Here for my friend Dorian is a picture of some of them.
The actual gardens are private and we are not allowed down there, but I take a couple of pictures of where I suspect the pope often walks.
In the entrance hall are many statues, among them Greek and Roman Gods and Goddesses. It is interesting to me that the church did not destroy these works but saved them and in some cases incorporated some of their ideas into the church. I remember reading that it won the hearts of the people at the time.
Here is an Egyptian statue.
Then we find this Diana. I have always liked Diana the Goddess of the Hunt. There are several Diana's there but this is my favorite. I particularly like that she is reaching for her arrow and I like the dog looking up.
Shortly we come to this hall with the Grecian urn. A nice picture I think.
Next up are the tapestry rooms. These tapestries are so colorful they look like paintings and it's hard to realize that they are really woven cloth. The detail is wonderful. These line a room that is about the length of a football field. The ceilings are trompe l'oeil and look very much like plaster sculpture.
A few of the tapestries and the faux ceiling sculpture.
Then we are on to the map room. The amazing thing is that these maps are painted. And how did they KNOW what the land looked like. Here's a map of the city of Rome.
We walk on into the Raphael rooms and I am almost moved to tears. I have a new favorite painter and his name is Raphael. The beauty and the glory of these paintings are awe inspiring. Here are a few paintings in his own style and a photo of the mosaic ceiling.
Yes folks I am a glitzy girl and I LOVE this photo of God which is guilded with gold leaf.
The problem with Raphael is that he can not be confident in his own style, or maybe he is mocking other painters which is certainly what Michaelangelo thought, but he does beautiful Boticelli faces and later paints big burly twisting figures like Michaelangelo.
Notice the beefy arms and figure with their back toward you. This is Raphael doing Michaelangelo.
Now look at his most famous painting The Academy which totally blew me away with it's magnificance. This is Raphael at his best. His portrait of Michaelangelo as scribe is beefy, but Michaelangelo was a hefty sculpture. His Leonardo, his addition of himself , and his girlfriend are true beautiful Raphael.
Leonardo on left
After the Raphael rooms we go on to the Sistine chapel. I have no pictures of the Sistine chapel because photography is not allowed. It is not because of the delicacy of the painting, but because Sony paid for the restoration and now owns rights to all of the images.
But I notice that Michaelangelo's colors are not as bright as Raphael's. I also think "it's too busy," and I remember that Michaelangelo never wanted to be a painter. His love was sculpture. He only did the Sistine chapel because the pope promised to pay him money that was owed to him for previous work. They paid him half up front for the chapel and never paid him another dime. Still I find the back wall of heaven and hell intriqing. Michaelangelo has sent the people he did not like to hell on the hell side. A bit of painterly humor.
We walk out of the main building and on to St. Peters. This is truly a heavenly place. The dome is beautiful as is the painting on the inside of the dome.
There are many statues and paintings here where people are buried. Here is an angel extinquishing life and Teresea of Austria's tomb. She was quite a girl with a wild streak who still was buried here because she gave much money to the church.
Next we come to what I've waited 37 years to see. The Pieta. Even blocked off by glass it is beautiful. But it is also surrounded by other admirers taking photos. I get my turn in to see it and to take photos. It is as lovely as I imagined it would be. Raphael may be the better painter, but NO one was better at sculpture than Michaelangelo.
Walking around St. Peters we also see this statue and I'm impressed with the marble, how it was sculpted to look like cloth. Not as intricate as the Pieta, but amazing none the less and the color is striking.
Finally we turn to the altar itself and the Berninni altar piece. St. Peters was set up for Easter so there were chairs but with a zoom lens I managed to capture some of the beauty.
We exit into St. Peters square where they are also set up for Easter. Here's a photo of where the Pope comes out on the balcony every Sunday and underneath where he will come out for Easter. Also a picture of the clock and bell during day and the fountain during the day.
At this point I am so happy I could end the trip here and be delighted. But there is more, oh so much more, that by the end of the day I will say that I want to move to Rome for the art and history.
After we leave the Vatican we go to the official Vatican gift shop where I buy a lady bug rosary for myself, Vatican coins for Dan, a Mary reproduction painting for me, Holy water for myself, several pill boxes with sites of Rome to give away, and many many postcards. Then it's off to lunch where I have the BEST lasagne I have ever eaten. The cheese is not Mozzarella or Parmesean, it is distinctly Roman, and I will tell you later what it is when I take you to Campa di Fiore which is where we go next, the wonderful Campa di Fiore open air market and the Piaza Navona, two of my very favorite places. Stay tuned for part 2 of day 2.