|While pretty amazing, the Vatican Museums are also pretty expensive.|
I really don’t advise that move, but I’m just here to be economical.
First, the awesome parts about Vatican City… We started our day at about 8am. St. Peter’s Basilica opens at 7:30am and the Vatican Museum opens at 10am. Also, this happened to be a Wednesday, when the Pope allegedly gives his blessing to the people in St. Peter’s Square at 10:30am. The timing was all right.
|Everything is set up for the blessing, just waiting for the Pope.|
When we arrived to Vatican City, there was a long line for the papal blessing, which we stood in initially and then abandoned ship. Instead, we pushed forward to St. Peter’s. The line moved right on through, and without paying a penny, we were inside the church doors. That’s when I realized getting up at 6am on vacation was one of the best decisions I made.
|Quiet enough to hear a pin drop.|
All to ourselves to worship St. Peter…
|Frank opted to just touch his foot, even |
though it's apparently good luck to kiss it
|Frank wanted to confess, but I told him this trip was only two weeks long.|
All to ourselves to see works by Bernini…
And all to ourselves to witness Michelangelo’s Pietá…
And then we realized, we hadn’t even climbed halfway up. After more stairs, we reached the roof.
|See the cupola behind Frank? We still need to |
take more stairs to get up there!
|Definitely the most claustrophic stairs ever. Also not good for |
people who are hungover.
|That huge white building is the Victor Emmanuel II Monument,|
a tribute to the first king of Rome since the 6th Century.
|Ohh... sorry folks! Been there, done that!|
We could also see the Pope was nowhere to be found even though it was 10:30am and time for his papal blessing. So disappointing. Oh well, off to the Vatican Museums. This is a looonnnnggg walk. Longer than we thought.
Again, since we were pretty early, there was no line, but it was €15 each to get in. By contrast I spent €0 to get into what I consider the best museum in the world, the Louvre in Paris (more on that in another post), so I was expecting something great.
In one of the first rooms, I decided Iwas in love with the Vatican Museums. Only because I’m a history nerd. I saw hieroglyphics from Egypt…
|I show this painting to my students every year to point out how |
Plato explained things with the heavens and Aristotle explained
the world with science.
Then finally, what we’ve all been waiting for – the Sistine Chapel. It’s not what you expect. It’s dark (to preserve the paintings) and the guards keep hushing people. If they see you taking a picture, they throw you out. The Chapel was extremely crowded, but we managed to snag a seat and took in the glory of Michelangelo’s most famous work. It was amazing, but it also made me feel the same way as the Mona Lisa… is this it?
|Paris, 2009 - I'm standing as close as you can get to the Mona |
Lisa, and it's still a lot smaller than I expected.
Finally, after our necks were sore from craning them upwards, we took a piece of advice from Rick Steves and exited the Chapel to the right, past a sign that said “for tours only.” We weren’t on a tour, but we moseyed right out that way, which landed us right back at St. Peter’s Basilica and saved us the loooonnnnggg walk back from the front of the Vatican Museums.
|The Square is much more alive now that's is 1pm!|