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Vatican Museum

Rome Travel Blog

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the queue to enter St. Peter's

Before coming to Rome I had only been to Milano and Como when I was very young. I remembered great pizza and nice scenic walks. But the Rome I was expecting was extracted by the pictures in my art history book and the stories told to me by my devout Catholic family about their visits to the Vatican.

The flight provided me with my first experience with the Italian lifestyle. Every time I stood up and walked to the back of the plane there were the stewardesses laughing and chatting drinking cups of coffee and having a great time. Ah… la dolce vita.

In order to get to the convent we had booked as our hotel my mother decided to get a taxi as we didn’t know how to get around.

Egyptian exhibit
We made the grave mistake of not asking the price beforehand, how could that have slipped around us! Halfway there I gave an alarmed look in my mother’s direction as this fact settled in and we consulted on what to do. In the end we had to pay the driver a bestial 65 Euro for the ride from Fiumicino to Rome and we vowed to always take the public transport to avoid this from ever happening again.

Although we felt sleepy and all airport-stale, clothes crumpled, legs aching, etc… we were too excited to let any time pass without seeing Roma. Since the Convent was located on Viale Vaticano we walked five minutes to St. Peter’s. An enormous line stretched out between us and the basilica, in the persistent yet light rain a crowd of tourists waited or pushed to get inside.

A Greek style Egyptian statue

With the dismay on our faces apparent, a young man approached us asking if we spoke English. He offered us to join a tour group that would take us inside the museums without waiting in line for 25 euro. Although we had intended to see the basilica, we made our way to the museum tour group, only to find out that not only did we have to pay an additional 14 euro of an entrance fee but we would only have one hour to see all of the museum. As a student of art I thought this ludicrous and a waste. To run past each precious piece of art! Unimaginable.

We waited in the regular line and finally got inside where we invested 4 euro each in an audio guide. On our way to the Egyptian exhibit the ceilings were already decorated in the baroque style, absolutely wonderful. I stared up at the ceiling almost tripping up the stairs a few times before I stumbled into the first Egyptian room.

Vatican Museum
There to my surprise, I was greeted with an ancient corpse.

On our way through the museum there were several incredibly famous pieces which I dragged my mother so that I could display my knowledge of styles and lore. As we neared the Sistine chapel more and more people kept running past us, ignoring the highly decorated ceilings and sculptures. I had read that the chapel was not as impressive as it is made out to be, but I felt quite the opposite. Michelangelo’s mastery of balance and composition kept me standing in the center for nearly half an hour. Then I sat on either side where there were benches to contemplate the painted walls. As the audio guide explained, the Last Judgment was not originally there and when I faced the other way it all culminated in the centerpiece of negative space between Adam and God.

Vatican Museum

After we exited the museum I felt absolutely disgusting. The feeling of being without a shower for an abnormal amount of time was further developed by the rain that had permeated my jacket before we entered the museum. The convent was not far away so we quickly went back to shower and get out our rain gear.

After this we tried again at St. Peter’s, but unfortunately they had just closed and the Swiss Guards clad in their navy blue ponchos swished us away. It was about eight o’clock and an outpouring of nuns, clergymen, and audience members started pouring out of the Vatican City all at the same time. The current created by this sudden departure was immense and we got swept into the crowd running in the direction opposite of our convent.

Laocoon and his sons

Because of our curiosity, we decided to simply follow these people to see where everybody was going. Down the Viale Vaticano and then down some stairs, to the left, up a ramp, into a tunnel, following the herd blindly we found ourselves in a parking lot in which no car of ours was parked. Dismayed we went back into the tunnel where we walked against the crowd until we found the uscita and back to the Vatican square. By this time it was lit up and gorgeous so we stood around a bit in the square seeing all the fountains and trying to walk as close to St. Peter’s as possible without upsetting the guards.

Ann_Hells says:
the museum was probably what I was most looking forward to, there is sooooo much to see.
Haha after that taxi we just wanted to walk places!
Posted on: Mar 07, 2008
sylviandavid says:
This is a great telling of an exciting day.... Taxi's.... they can be so irritating..... I agree about public transit.... much better.... It is so annoying to be cheated. I enjoyed this blog and think you did very well touring as you must have been jet lagged! Sylvia
Posted on: Mar 06, 2008
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the queue to enter St. Peters
the queue to enter St. Peter's
Egyptian exhibit
Egyptian exhibit
A Greek style Egyptian statue
A Greek style Egyptian statue
Vatican Museum
Vatican Museum
Vatican Museum
Vatican Museum
Laocoon and his sons
Laocoon and his sons
glorious ceilings
glorious ceilings
School of Athens
School of Athens
The exit stairwell, better now
The exit stairwell, better now
Berninis Square
Bernini's Square
Im dancing in the Vatican
I'm dancing in the Vatican
Square at night
Square at night
Mob exiting the Vatican at closing…
Mob exiting the Vatican at closin…
Rome Sights & Attractions review
Vatican Museum
I agree to go in the afternoon; there was hardly a line when I went. This museum is well worth its entrance fee. There is so much to see. I would re… read entire review
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photo by: vulindlela