Sunday, November 3, 2013

Roman Holiday- visiting the pope

Well, after all the drama of getting to Rome, the rest of the trip was pretty fantastic. We spent our first full day there actually traveling to another country before seeing any of Italy.

What other country? The Vatican, of course!

That’s right, it counts as another country. Now my count is up to 12. My dream is for that tally to someday pass my tally of how many states I’ve been to. 15 more countries to go! 

The Vatican was the place on this trip that I was most excited to see, and it totally lived up to my expectations. There were several lines involved, however. We waited in line for about an hour before getting into the Vatican Museum. Here's a glimpse of how crowded it was.

The museum is full of artwork, and the building itself is a work of art. It gave me some Versailles vibes.

After probably walking through rooms of that nature for about an hour, we hit the Raphael Rooms. Maybe you know his name from the Ninja Turtles. Maybe you know his name because, like me, you (weirdly) remember everything you learned from Freshman Humanities. Either way, he was one of the most famous Renaissance painters. 

There are three rooms that are covered from floor to ceiling with his paintings. This was much cooler than seeing single paintings by famous artists hung separately in a normal art museum. Me and Olimpia were so blown away by his paintings! And this is after walking by thousands of paintings in the previous hour. Every character in the paintings seems ready to jump off the wall and start talking to you. 

One of the highlights was seeing the Raphael rooms. Three rooms are covered from floor to ceiling with his paintings. I was excited to see Raphael’s most famous painting, the School of Athens. 

But of course, the best and most most exciting part of the Vatican Museum is the SISTINE CHAPEL. (I was going to write the Sistine Freaking Chapel, but that seemed sacrilegious so I went with caps...but then I wrote it anyway so whatever).

There are guards standing at the entrance to the Sistine Chapel just to get people to keep moving all the way through the entrance. Because you start walking in, and then you have to just stop and take it all in. 

I would have to say that this place lives up to how famous it is. Everything was even more realistic and three-dimensional than Raphael’s paintings. I think it might be the most beautiful (man-made) place I’ve ever seen. Nice going Michelangelo.

It is very forbidden to take pictures in here. There are guards EVERYWHERE! However, it is also very crowded and hard for the guards to see everyone. I saw some super determined Asian tourists going for it and taking some pictures anyways, so I decided to risk it too.


I’m proud of my rebellious moment. 

That pretty much wrapped up the Vatican Museum. Then we headed to St. Peter’s square to visit St. Peter’s Basilica. It was so cool to see yet another place that I’ve seen in a thousand pictures!

We had to wait in another line to get into the basilica- probably for another hour.

Here’s a view of the line from the back :)

Here's the outside of the basilica, when we finally got to the front of the line!

And here’s St. Peter himself.

I like this statue because he really looks like a guy that would cut someone’s ear off.

The basilica is HUGE! And it’s definitely one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen, so I took tons of pictures.

Yeah, I meant that. I took tons of pictures. And here's one of me!

Here’s another Michelangelo work of art that’s in the basilica- the Pietà (Mary holding Jesus after he died).

I don’t know what else to say about this place other than it made me a verrrrrrry happy girl to see it.  And now I’m really in a mood to read some Dan Brown books. 

Other fun things we saw at the Vatican include:

-really excited Asian tourists

-tons of nuns, priests, and monks (these were our favorite kind of monk to see):

-Swiss Guards!

-exciting pope souvenirs, such as keychains of the Pope's face and t-shirts that say "I Love Pope Francis"

-the Pope himself! 

Just kidding. I was really wishing that would happen. I had a plan for what I would do and everything:

Despite not meeting Pope Francis, I would say this day was a success. We liked it so much that we came back 2 days later to see a mass in St. Peter's square. More on that later!

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