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Published: August 16th 2018
We made it to the grand square at the Vatican. It was hot.
Day 34 - Sistine Chapel
On Saturday, we headed for the Vatican. Our scheduled time at the Vatican Museum was 10am, so we slept in a little, ate breakfast, and walked through Rome (down side alleys, of course). From the group meeting spot to the entrance to the museum was a half-mile walk with very little shade. Therefore, we were more than happy to spend a lot of time walking slowly in the crowded, but air conditioned, Vatican Museum on our way to the Sistine Chapel.
The museum’s pieces were incredibly preserved, and some of the best we have seen at any museum. It is not surprising given the influence of the Catholic Church and the fact these pieces have been in private collection for hundreds of years. There was an express path to the chapel (skipping much of the museum), but we opted for the longer way, and it was well worth it.
Anne has been looking forward to visiting the Sistine Chapel since High School, and bravely endured the crowds to stare up at the magnificent ceilings. Michelle and Tony also liked the paintings, but were happy to
W don't know what i was, but it was bronze and big.
assist with crowd control to keep Anne from being buffeted by the mingling crowd. It was crowded and stuffy, but at least it was air conditioned, and Anne enjoyed herself.
We headed out into the heat to see a bit more of the outside of the Vatican. We did not have any interest in the Basilica Dome of the Necropolis, so we headed to a nearby museum about Leonardo Da Vinci. The museum had more than 50 recreations of Da Vinci inventions, dutifully created from his plans, made at scale where you could play with and operate most of them. That man did so many things, it was a bit overwhelming. They also displayed reproductions of all of Da Vinci’s paintings, including the Mona Lisa.
Apparently, in his time, Da Vinci would send his paintings out to a shop to get reproduced using a very accurate process. Most of the copies (and probably some of the supposed originals) of his and other famous artist’s paintings were created using this common practice. This museum used the same process with all of the same pigments and materials to reproduce these paintings. Therefore they are
Tony's favorite room, there were giant maps from all centuries on the walls.
as original as most of the “originals” from that time. In any case, they were really nice to look at.
After leaving the Vatican area, we wandered the streets of Rome a little more. When we crossed the river, Tony realized he was walking on a very old bridge, the oldest in Rome, and possibly the oldest bridge that still exists. Since Tony really likes old bridges, this was a very exciting revelation. We decided to take a long walk, with a number of stops for water and ice cream, to the Spanish Steps. It turns out that the Spanish Steps are in full sunlight most of the day, and we hit them midday. There were about 3 people on the steps, and about 3000 people in the small areas of shade across the plaza taking pictures of the 3 people on the steps. We decided we would not join the 3 people on the steps, and went off in the shade to find more gelato. If we ever get back to Rome, we want to climb those steps in the early morning, for we hear there is a wonderful park at the top, and lots
Not the Sistine
But very neat artwork none-the-less
of other streets to explore.
At this point, we decided to make our way back to the flat, but that meant avoiding the Trevi Fountain. One block to the east of the fountain square, we saw a sign, slightly spray painted, with the words “museo archeologico” and an arrow, so we followed it. We found a small door, with a small museum and an entrance fee of 1 euro. It turned out to be an ancient set of homes under which the Romans had built cisterns as part of the city’s aqueduct system. These giant cisterns held water in storage for use during dry periods, and were only rumored to exist until these were discovered recently. This further reinforces our statement that the best way to explore a city is to wander around without a fixed itinerary.
We wandered back to our flat, up the stairs, took a nap, and had another fantastic night of dinner and entertainment in Campo Di Fiori.
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