Second day of Rome was devoted to the Vatican City. Did you know that Vatican is a state and its people are not citizens but are subjects? Well, I didn’t till this trip. The info was imparted by a tour guide that we had engaged for a visit to Vatican City Museums and the Sistine Chapel. The guide didn’t come cheap. It costs us €41.00 per person including the entrance tickets. Though he was knowledgeable about Vatican, I found that I wasn’t able to absorb that information much. Many of the names and history went in one ear and came through the other. I probably only retained 5% of what I heard!
We didn’t know that the pope was making an appearance on that very day we visited Vatican but there were tons of people who knew it and thronged the entire place. Two of my friends would have gone to catch a glimpse of him had we not booked the tour earlier. So as we walked towards the Vatican museums to meet up with the tour guide, large hordes of tourists were walking in the opposite directions.
Entrance to the museums
The way to the museums from the nearest bus stop was quite a long walk. We had to walk really quickly so that our tour guide won’t leave us behind. I think we were about 20 minutes late but whew, we manage to catch up with our tour guide. There were quite a few other tours taking place as well.
What stood out from the many treasures that Vatican museums contain were the mediveal maps representing the Italian regions and the papal properties and the Sistine Chapel of course.
The Gallery of Maps – the maps look wonderfully illustrated. Though I make no sense of it, it looks good as an art piece!
Tapestry that decorated Sistine Chapel in the past
They have since been taken down to preserve them. Tapestries were used to keep the cold out.
We did something naughty on our trip. Guess what? We took photos in the Sistine Chapel. Photography is banned in the chapel to preserve the paintings by great artists. Despite knowing that, it was too hard to resist especially when there were many who went snap mad. The tour guide told us not to take it when he’s around as I guess they will be held responsible. But when he’s not around…….. So here are some pictures that I took….
“Creation of Adam” – The most reproduced out of all the paintings in the room
As can be seen from the photos, there were many people visiting the museum and I think this is considered an off peak crowd since many people would have gone to see the Pope. The tour guide told us that when the museum was built, it wasn’t intented for massive crowd of visitors. Instead, few visitors would roam around and view the pieces in leisure. I wish that could have been my experience as well but since I’m neither royalty nor staff, there wasn’t such a good environment to appreciate the many great works around. It was quite exhausting to be exposed to arts in such an intense way. I think I’ve never seen so many valuable paintings by great artists in a day, even if you grouped all my exposure since I was borned, I doubt it would have accounted for 10% of what I saw in Vatican!
To be continued – tired now…