On our third day in Rome, we set out for Vatican City. The Missus wanted to walk there...from Termini Station. We had the metro one block away! Luckily, I got myself out of a 5k walk first thing in the morning and we caught the metro. From the metro station, the walk to the gates of Vatican Museum took about ten minutes.
When it comes to most of our travel; the Missus tells me what She wants and I do the logistics, planning, and She just basically shows up. The visit to the Vatican Museum was a good example. I got tickets online ahead of time....we entered right when the place opened, going to the line for "Entrance with Reservations". We grabbed a map and headed to the one place the Missus really wanted to see; the Sistine Chapel, where we stood alone in the rare air where the Papal Conclave takes place. The Missus just stood staring at the ceiling as other visitors piled in around Her. I took a seat after a minute or two, when my neck started stiffening up. I grabbed the Missus to leave when I heard "huuuuaaackkk p-tew".....one of the Chinese tourists had just spit on the floor of the Sistine Chapel! Good lord!
The rest of my time in the Vatican Museum was a blur of antiquities, lavish paintings, just an astounding amount of items on display. I was overwhelmed by the extravagance. I kept telling the Missus, "geeez, these folks sure have a lot of money..."
I do recall enjoying the ceiling art and spent a good deal of time just enjoying those and the paintings over doorways.
I think one needs to spend a least a couple of days here if you really enjoy this stuff. I'm sure Ed from Yuma could probably walk these halls for months!
Anyway, we worked our way back to the beginning and started out with the Egyptian Rooms, officially called the "Gregorian Egyptian Museum", which were among my favorites. After all, who doesn't like mummies, right?
I found the various hieroglyphics and of course the mummies fascinating....it touched off a the faint flicker of the little boy in me, who would spend hours pouring through books at Kaimuki Library.
The Egyptian's deities manifested themselves as various animals based on characteristics. The God Apis took the form of a bull.
I was quite fascinated with these displays.
Things just seemed really packed in.....there was something to see everywhere...
Then we went through the halls with Greek and Roman sculpture. Tons of statues....my head was spinning.
One of the most famous statues is Apollo Belvedere which was once considered to be the most aesthetically perfect sculpture of a man after being found in Italy in the 15th century.
Right past all of this was an interesting area called the "Hall of Animals". The Vatican Museum's website states that the hall "was set up under Pope Pius VI (1775-1799) with antique works of art, often much restored and sometimes completely re-worked, with the aim of creating a 'stone zoo'. Many artists worked on the sculptures in this display during the 1700s, the most important of whom was Francesco Antonio Franzoni."
On your way to the Round Room, you'll be confronted with this remnant. This fragment of a statue known as the Belvedere Torso has been revered through the centuries by Raphael and even Michaelangelo, who it was rumored, was asked to restore the statue by Pope Julius II, but refused saying it was too beautiful to be changed. He is quoted as saying, "This is the work of a man who knew more than nature!” It is said that the torso was an inspiration for Adam in Michelangelo's fresco in the Sistine Chapel.
Right past this sculpture is the "Round Hall". Here's a panoramic shot that you can click on to expand.
Look familiar? Well, it was built to resemble the Pantheon.
By this time Museum fatigue was setting in. I pretty much stopped taking photos and it's quite telling that one of the few photos taken by the Missus was Rapheal's "The Liberation of St Peter".
The one thing the Missus, a fan of Angels & Demons, had to take a photo of was the Double Helix Staircase.....which is how you exit the Vatican Museum.
St Peter's Square is quite impressive....and crowded.
And of course, to get into the Basilica, you had to go through security and metal detectors and all of that as well.
It was getting to be a pretty warm day. The security points for St Peter's were moving quite slowly. Then, a group of Chinese tourists pushed their way to the front of the line, and tried to just walk through security. The guards rushed up, linked their arms and physically pushed back the crowd. Then they closed the gate......I don't know if it was protocol or just spite, but man, I was just over it. Now don't get me wrong, the Missus is Chinese, as you all know if you've read long enough, from Qingdao. None of Her family, or even family friends who have visited act this way. 'Nuff said.
Anyway, by the time we got to St Peter's, I'd had my fill of the crowds, the heat, etc....
Still, the Missus has always wanted to come here. And I truly want the Missus to see and visit everyplace She's dreamed of. I hope that Vatican water tasted sweet.....
By now we were both starving.........but I had a place in mind. One that had been on my lists for ages... Pizzarium.
This place takes Pizza al Taglio - pizza by the slice to the next level with some wonderful ingredients. You just tell the guy behind the counter how much you want....it's really hard not to go overboard.
While it was still a bit too "bready" for our tastes, some of the ingredients were wonderful and we especially loved the tomato sauce....man, that was nice.
Via della Meloria 43
Returning to our room, I badly needed a shower. After that and rehydrating, we headed off, just to hang around the area near Termini Station.
And have a little snack.....
After taking quite a long walk, we decided to stop by the nearest Hosteria and have a simple meal.
Oh well, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, right?
Man, that carbonara was not to my liking....so I guess this was a lose.
It was not quite the send off I wanted. The next day, we'd be back on the Leonardo Express, then to our flight to Malta....yes, Malta.