Day 2 in Roma (Rome) and my body had metabolized enough excess hormones in the last week to leave a sultan unsatisfied with a harem of a thousand, and my mood told the tale - mean. I did my best to keep my mouth shut for the first hour, hoping the sights would distract me from my woes (though the biggest reason for this state happened to be my tour guide.)
Only the Vatican Museum could have done it.
Here's my quick-and-dirty how-to
guide for the Vatican Museum: there are four routes through the Vatican
Museum. If you arrive early, like 8 AM, take the A route, the shortest
route, and skip EVERYTHING yes, everything. Just walk on by, don't
stop to gawk because you'll be looping back around to catch what you missed,
just trust me. When you get to the Sistine Chapel youll have it
almost to yourself.
are your qualifications?"
Even the entrance stairwell to the museum is spectacular.
Fortunately on my first trip
to the Vatican Museum I missed that particular horror and arrived on a
comparatively uncrowded week day.
The Pinacoteca, containing the Raphaels and Caravaggios and other Renaissance painters, is my personal fave, but you have to be attentive to find it. Theyve tucked it away behind the cafeteria and lots of folks miss it without even realizing where it was. Instead, they cram into the Papal Apartments to see Raphael's works there. They're impressive, of course, but the frescoes are faded and worn and the rooms often crowded to capacity, In the Pinacoteca you don't have to fight to get close to the comparatively fresh-looking canvases.
The rest of the museum is cool
too with some interesting Egyptian stuff, of course, a surprisingly interesting
Etruscan collection and countless other things to amaze - too many to
detail - but what grabbed Heather and I were two Caravaggio paintings.
Flesh so real you're waiting for the figures to take a breath. Heather
and I just stood and gawked at the hands and feet in the paintings. Wed
been struggling together in figure drawing classes for months
and perfect hands and feet like those gave us spasms of both delight and
frustration. I laughed, knowing what she was thinking.
Leftover cheese and roasted red pepper sandwiches from the day before were again food fit for gods. The thing I miss the most, even with all the Roman ruins, Renaissance art, incredible architecture and beautiful women is undoubtedly the food. Walk into any back alley or basement deli with 8000 lire and a willingness to point (and/or your pocket English/Italiano dictionary) and youll come out with lunch for two that is divine.
We stepped around the corner into St. Peters. It has the precise affect that those who designed it (Donato Bramante and Michelangelo, among others) and decorated it (Bernini, among others) had planned - awe inspiring. I cannot believe there is a comparison, nor words to describe it.
Pictures cannot capture it at all, though Japanese tourists with high-tech camcorders desperately try. Ill provide a few photos to try to it justice and a quote to fill in the words I lack:
course we have been to the monster Church of St. Peter, frequently. I
knew its dimensions. I knew it was a prodigious structure. I knew it was
just about the length of the capitol at Washington--say seven hundred
and thirty feet. I knew it was three hundred and sixty-four feet wide,
and consequently wider than the capitol. I knew that the cross on the
top of the dome of the church was four hundred and thirty-eight feet above
the ground, and therefore about a hundred or may be a hundred and twenty-five
feet higher than the dome of the capitol. --Thus I had one gauge. I wished
to come as near forming a correct idea of how it was going to look, as
possible; I had a curiosity to see how much I would err. I erred considerably.
St. Peter's did not look nearly so large as the capitol, and certainly
not a twentieth part as beautiful, from the outside.
Everyone comes away nearly silent. What can one say? Just shrug, grin, and move along.
If you're got the energy for it, the hike to the top of the dome is magnificent. Halfway up you can stop on the roof and get a feel for how large the sculptures along the edge really are (yes, those are people on the right side behind the sculpture), then continue on to the top of the dome for a fantastic view of Roma.
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All original content on this site is owned by Degenerate Press and cannot be used without our permission. We have lawyers for friends with nothing better to do than cause trouble (no kidding), so play nice. Copyright © 2002, All Rights Reserved