Years ago, Mary Jones and I spent 24 hours in Rome. We didn’t have time to see the Sistine Chapel, and I am SUCH a Michelangelo groupie that I had to get there on this trip.
Due to my typical dread of being trapped where I don’t want to be, I didn’t get a reservation online. Maybe I could have searched and gotten a ticket without a tour, but instead, I ended up in a two hour, mile long throng of people to enter the Vatican Museum en route to the Chapel. It was a at time for people watching and meeting strangers. I ended up sharing my bag of nuts (never leave without food) with three people from Denmark who spoke English. (I told them about you, Simon.) She was a retired (pensioned, in Europe) art teacher and we both agreed that there is a limit to attention span and so we were strategizing about our priorities. She told me that there were two ways to approach viewings. One could focus on one’s goals, or one could be open to discovery of the unknown.
My main goal was to get to the Chapel. However, with my tsetse fly attention span and my FOMS* I knew that I would see more than I bargained for and still be finished within my time frame. (I re-encountered my buds in Capella Sistina and left them sitting in thoughtful study.)
In the meantime, I wandered through the unknown. Here are some observations. First of all, all in Rome is not Roman. There has been much involuntary trading about of treasures within the history of Europe. Greece and the Romans have traded power back and forth and the spoils in both cases have stayed with the victors of the particular time.
I ruined this photo of Mary bragging about being the Mother of Jesus before I learned how to turn off my flash. I hope you can see her face because for such an ancient painting, this woman could just as well be on “Real Housewives of Italy”.
Ron, there was an entire Galleria d’Animales but I couldn’t find a bear. Thought this one would intrigue you. Interestingly, I didn’t notice any stags except those being eaten and otherwise brought down by predators. What’s it all about?
And do you think they intentionally surround this statue of the Satyr with smirking young men eternally frozen in attendance to him?
Also, I have finally discovered where Miss McLarnan (my high school teacher) got the idea for her hairdo.
The closer we got to the Chapel, the more the privates tended to be covered by fig leaves. This guy’s was a much bigger leaf than most. This one’s for you, Mindy. (Since you taught me that the penises were not European, just uncircumcised, I think of you each time I see one.)
The room of the maps is actually a long hall with this incredible ceiling. Well, actually, all of the ceilings in the Vatican area are incredible. (The denizens of Rome must have required constant stimulation even at the cost of stiff necks.) If you can see any detail in this photo, you will note that the arrows are pointing the wrong way in this tour. One would need to walk backward while gazing up in order to see if there is a continuing saga. I did sit on a bench halfway through and could have gotten a photo from the right direction but it didn’t have the same scope as the other…so you’ll need to buy a postcard or go yourself if you want to see more.
The signs in the Sistine Chapel said no photos and I respected the sacred surroundings. I’ve explained how I feel about Michelangelo and I have no irreverent comments** about the Chapel itself. I’m in awe.
I made quick run to St. Peter’s Basilica (with an unintentionally jaunt through the catacombs) to see the Pietá once more. I cried again.
Here is how I felt about my feet and my empty stomach by the time I got back to the Metro.
And speaking of feet, Ron, I always have my eye out for you. This guy didn’t have great legs like you, but he definitely buys his shoes and gets his style pointers at the same place.:)
P. S. Joanne, I couldn’t get an audience with the Pope, he was out of town. So I took this photo of his portrait hanging at the convent. Thought that might be as close as I would ever get.
*Fear of Missing Something
**Maybe just one. I noticed at least one man whose B.A. was showing as he bent (or maybe the wind was blowing) and I conjectured that since it looked a bit gratuitous, M was just showing off his skill in portraying great buns.
If you are close to the A line (which stops at the TERMINI), or connect with the B line or one of the railways, you can get to the Vatican for the price of a day pass on the Metro. That’s assuming you aren’t staying longer and have not purchased one for a week. Get off at OTTAVIANO-S. PIETRO and follow the clearly marked signs.