EuropeItalyRome

Day 4: Vatican City and Rome

Rome Travel Blog

 › entry 4 of 11 › view all entries
Brian and I right outside St. Peter's.

Fifty years after he painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, Michaelangelo was commisioned to paint the walls of the chapel.  He created the Last Judgement which shows heaven, Earth and hell.  When he painted it, he painted everyone but the Virgin Mary naked.  An angry cardinal protested and complained that the nakedness was vulgar.  Michaelangelo responded that when we are dead, we are all naked in front of the Lord.  The cardinal was unsatisfied and complained to the Pope.  This irritated Michaelangelo and he decided to punish the cardinal by adding his portrait to the painting (on the hell side) along with a set of donkey ears and tail.  When the cardinal saw this addition, he was really fuming.  He once again went to the Pope for assistance, but the Pope knew better than to mess with Michaelangelo.

With my feet in two different countries-one stepping out of the Vatican City and one stepping into Italy.
  He simply told the angry cardinal this:  "I can't control who goes to hell."  -- Story told to us by our Sistine Chapel tour guide

Our day begins in the Vatican City (woo hoo! another country we've visited).  We are literally the first of 20,000 daily visitors here.  We begin our experience with a tour of the Vatican Museum.  It contains some fine artwork including some Raphael designed tapestries that took 5 artists 10 years each to weave using pure gold and silver thread.  It also contains the well-known and amazing Sistine Chapel.  The chapel is amazing and the details of Michaelangelo's ceiling creation are spectacular.  What's more fantastic is to know that Michaelangelo spent four years working alone on this project.

Not a bad view
  He started it at age 29 and finished at 33.  Our tour guide pointed out the amazing quality and detail of the work culminating in that magical painting of the hand of God and the hand of man connecting in touch. 

After we leave the museum, we go to St. Peter's Basilica, the largest church in the world.  This is the Pope's main church (his apartment is just outside in the courtyard).  Here we see more Raphael and Michaelangelo pieces.  We also get to wander through the vastness of the site. 

After a short snack break, we're back on the bus and we head down to ancient Rome.  We drive past the ruins of yesterday including the Forum, Palatine Hill and Circus Maximus.  We hop off at the Colosseum and have time to tour the inside.

Us in Rome
  An interesting fact:  the original floor of the Colosseum was made out of sand so it could easily soak up the blood of the gladiators and animals.  The Latin word for sand is arena--hence our word arena to name sports stadiums.  After the tour and a few photos, Brian and I literally run through the surrounding sites (we only have an hour before our tour bus leaves and we're hot as we both wore long pants on this 90+ degree day for touring the Vatican).  We wander through Palatine Hill to see the palace ruins of former emperors.  Unfortunately there isn't enough time to see and do it all, but we do get a good taste of the magnificence of this place. 

We get back on the bus and whiz back to the hotel where we cool down and take a much-needed Italian siesta.  Afterward we're off again.  This time Brian and I go out on our own for dinner near the Pantheon and an evening walk to Capitol Hill (to see the statue of Victor Emmanuel II--his horse he's riding is the size of a bus to put the statue in perspective).  Then we go back to the Colosseum for some nighttime photos and more gelato!

Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Brian and I right outside St. Pete…
Brian and I right outside St. Pet…
With my feet in two different coun…
With my feet in two different cou…
Not a bad view
Not a bad view
Us in Rome
Us in Rome
Raphaels tapestry.  It took 5 men…
Raphael's tapestry. It took 5 me…
The Victor Emmanuel II statue--the…
The Victor Emmanuel II statue--th…
Ancient ruins
Ancient ruins
Inside the Colosseum
Inside the Colosseum
Brian and me inside the Colosseum
Brian and me inside the Colosseum
Me looking back on the ancient city
Me looking back on the ancient city
The Colosseum
The Colosseum
From another angle
From another angle
Rome
photo by: vulindlela