Day 4: Vatican City and Rome
Rome Travel Blog› entry 4 of 11 › view all entries
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.
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.
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.
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!