Friday, September 27, 2013

The Vatican tour

In our infinite wisdom we decided to walk over for our 230 tour of the Vatican.  There is no option of wearing cute shoes.  I have been wearing my super comfy golf sandals which even now are getting a little wore in.  This time I added a pair of socks into my bag.  Honestly I don't think we have walked on a  blade of grass since we got here.  The whole country is pavement and most of it cobbled.

Walking down the neighbourhood roads there are just people everywhere and this is quiet compared to July and August.  Notice how the vespas don't need to be in a lane.  Lol

The whole town is covered in statues, they are everywhere

And churches in every neighbourhood.  This is the Trinita dei Monti.  This is a 16 th century church at the top of the Spanish Steps.  It has beautiful views over the whole of Rome.
From here we hit the Piazza del Popolo, the people's square.  One of Rome's biggest areas to do some fun people watching.  Always lots of activity.  
An Egyptian obelisk carved for RamsesII in 13 bc is in the centre of the square

Next stop was the Vatican.  After we go through security, our guide, Tiffany starts us on our tour.  This was a Viatour I booked online and well worth the money.  Tiffany is from Indiana and was the top guide for 2012.  

I was expecting a lot of history about the building of Christianity, instead the first few galleries were all about Ancient Rome.  Tiffany quote "if you spent 30 seconds looking at every item on display in the museum, it would take you 12 years to finish".  Below are just 100s of heads etc.  there was another gallery of just animals.  All from ancient Rome.  
Nearly all of the male statues had their male parts removed, possibly by Pope Pius IX.  Tiffany quote " there was a box recently discovered in the archives which was full of male parts which the restorers are now going through to try and figure out which statue they belong too".
This is considered one of the most important statues in the collection.  This is Laocoon, who tried to convince the Trojans to burn down the wooden horse.  Someone either Athena, Poseidon or Apollo sent the serpents to kill him and his 2 sons.  If he hadn't died then the whole history of Rome would have changed. 

This is Nero's bathtub.  It was made from one piece of marble.  How on earth did they transport it back then. 

There were galleries of maps, tapestries, etc.  below are a couple pictures from the Raphael gallery. Pope Julius II refused to sleep in Alexander Borgis (they were arch rivals) apartment so had his own created.  He commissioned Michelangelo to paint the Sistine chapel after Raphael's recommendation and then insisted that Raphael do his apartments.  Raphael was a lover while Michelangelo was a thinker and brooder.  The painting was done fresco style, which meant putting up plaster waiting until it was the perfect temperature and then applying the paint.  Michelangelo did all of this himself.  It took him 4 years to finish the ceiling and he did it all standing up, not lying down.  He even started to sleep up there.  He had never done fresco before and considered himself a sculptor not a painter, but what Julius II wanted, Julius II got, he was considered the warrior pope.

Raphael meanwhile was considered the top fresco painter of his time and the girls loved him, which is probably why he died at 37 of syphlllis.  His paintings were beautiful and delicate.  Michelangelo's were rugged and to the point.  

Both of these pictures are by Raphael, supposedly the one below was painted by him after he snuck in to see what Michelangelo was doing in the Sistine chapel.  As you can see there is some nudity and the bodies are more rugged.  

In this picture he was showing the great masters of history, he put himself, da Vince and Michelangelo  (Bottom right leaning on a desk). 
Michelangelo died at 86 after painting the "last judgement" on the altar wall of the Sistine chapel.  It is quite a startling and scary picture.  There was a cardinal that he didn't get along with and he put his head on one of the bodies being taken to hell.  Eventually one of the popes had all the pictures nudity painted over.  You can't take pics inside the chapel, you aren't even allowed to talk above a whisper.  The pictures are stunning and his vision was ahead of his time.

The doors to St. Peter's

Michelangelo did this sculpture when he was 24,  people didn't believe he did it, so he snuck in and 
put his name on a sash across Mary's chest.  In 1972, Laszlo Toth attacked it with a hammer.  He was 
Later declared mentally ill.  He managed to hit it 15 times before being stopped.  The people were more
Interested in stealing the marble.  Luckily they were able to get most  of it back.  It is now behind
Bulletproof glass.

Back home to rest the feet and then we headed around the corner for a wonderful dinner.



  1. So much history!! Unbelievable!! And so beautiful!! Great pictures and descriptions!!


  2. I'm learning a lot from your trip!

    Eileen W.