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Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Italy Day 3: Vatican

A few people have asked so I'll spill my secrets about how in the heck I'm remembering all of the stuff I'm writing about :) While on the trip I took a notebook with me (I used it in Paris and Toronto too) and I took some notes throughout the trip. I also used it to keep track of our spending (we didn't stress over money but we did keep track of where it all went!). AND I used it to reference pictures I took. Whenever Zach and I had the time (like on trains, waiting for things, on the plane ride home etc) we went through each picture I took and I wrote down whatever we could remember about that picture. We also bought several books while we were there so I'm referencing them on things that interest me (as well as our Frommer's guidebook we used while there). I took over 1,300 pictures but if I don't remember what the picture is of, or we didn't make a note about it I delete it. What's the point of having pictures of things if you don't know what they are?!?!

Anyways...Monday (May 28th) was our legit anniversary! We booked tickets in advance (which I highly recommend doing) for The Vatican. We had a 1:00 time-slot to be there so we planned to get up early, yet again, and go see some of the Rome stuff we missed out on arrival day. Well...we overslept. I set the alarm to get up at 5:30 to get ready and pump so we could get out of the room quickly. I overslept by 5 hours. How is that even possible?!?! Jet lag is how!!! I told yall I NEED a solid 12 hours of sleep to adjust. And Sunday night, since I over-slept, I got 11. I am surprised my body didn't wake me up needing me to pump! When we realized how late it was we kinda went into freak out mode. It wasn't the best way to start off our anniversary :( I wasn't in a very good mood because I felt mega guilty for over sleeping (from then on the alarm stayed on Zach's side of the bed!).

We rushed to get ready and get out the door but we knew we wouldn't have time for any sightseeing prior to our Vatican time. At least I didn't sleep in too late to make that!!! On top of our rushing, it was also raining. I packed an umbrella but Zach didn't. "Real men don't use umbrellas." Well with our height difference we can't really share one (if he carries it high enough to cover him I'm not covered, if I carry it he has to be bent over walking!) so I finally convinced him to haggle with a street vendor (seriously it will barely sprinkle there and a million guys will suddenly appear throwing umbrellas in your face!) and he bought one for 3 euros. 

We knew a little about eating in Italy and knew to avoid places that were very Americanized. We were in such a rush though we didn't have a choice and just ate at the first place we saw. We sat down (and got charged for it, annoying) and told the girl we literally had under 30 minutes to eat our entire meal. They did hustle for us! Zach wasn't crazy about his pizza but I really liked mine! I LOVE white pizza :)

Vatican City is the smallest state in the world. It is surrounded by this huge wall. We had to walk along it until we came to the entrance for the museum (it made me laugh that street venders were selling maps to the Vatican. I mean streets signs clearly pointed the way!).
Thanks to our online ticket ordering we practically walked right in. Honestly though, the lines weren't bad at all. You can tell from the picture above that there wasn't a line outside the door in the least! I had read that the best time to come was after lunch so maybe that helped? I think the rain did too! They did have security when we walked in and my whole sweater/purse situation annoyed me to death. I would accidentally put my sweater on over my purse (stupid cross body style!) and wouldn't know it. Or it'd be the other way around and I'd have my purse over my sweater and not know it. Either way it was annoying haha. This time I had the sweater on over the purse so when I went to take off my purse for security I had to first take off my sweater.  When I grabbed my purse (not realizing my sweater was on top of it) I yanked it in a hurry and ended up pulling both my sweater off and my top so far over to the side that my entire breast was exposed (covered by my bra but STILL). Here I am at what is considered to be one of the holiest places in the world and I'm busting out my boob. Classic! In the hustle I also lost an earring but at that point I did NOT care!!!

We made it through!
In Paris we visited The Lourve and covered that junk super fast. We planned to do the same thing with the Vatican museum. We're NOT into art. I am alllll about hitting the highlights, seeing the "coolest" stuff and moving on. We quickly realized that it wouldn't be possible! The Sistine Chapel is obviously the highlight of the Vatican Museum. But it's also a church...and you can't charge admission to a church. So they put the museum where they did so they could charge people. They also organized it in such a way that you were forced to walk through practically the entire thing before reaching the Sistine Chapel at the end. It was MEGA annoying. Especially since everyone had to walk the same way. It was very herded cattle feeling. This experience was my least favorite of the entire trip. I think it was Zach's too! We used our Frommer's guide book to hit the highlights as we passed by everything. I made note of all of the stuff the book said we needed to see...

This is the Cast of the Pieta' is not the original done by Michelangelo, we got to see that version at St Peters later in the day. This is a plaster cast made in 1975 by the Vatican Museum
This was a room of HUGE rugs. This one depicted the last supper
And this one shows the stoning of Stephen
This is Raphael's last panting (done in 1520) and is titled Transfiguration.
This is St.Jerome done in 1482 by Leonardo DaVinci
I don't know the name of this one but Zach liked it (he is VERY Bible knowledgeable so for him it was neat to see so many Bible stories brought to life). It's depicting when God told Abraham to sacrifice his son, Issac. It's done by Carracci
This is done by Caravaggio and is called Deposition (1604)
This was my personal favorite. It shows the Garden of Eden and is by Wenzel Peter, the picture I took doesn't have the best quality but it was AMAZINGLY beautiful in real life.
Close-up of Adam and Eve
Angel on the Right by Bernini in 1673 he used a combination of clay and straw over an iron and wickerwork frame to mold this statue. It was neat to see how artists would find any materials available to create their work.
part of a HUGE alter we saw
view of St Peter's
I love when random people offer to take a picture for us, makes my day and I try to pay it forward for others :) I actually have to bite my tongue to stop from asking too many people if they want me to take a picture for them!
View of Vatican Museum
We love anything free, don't you? :)

It makes me laugh how all the outdoor statues always have birds perched on them!
I stopped to use the bathroom and saw this! Yay for a ROOM just for nursing mama's! I didn't end up getting to use it for pumping (by the time I needed to pump we weren't about to go allll the way back for this room). But it made me proud that they had this :)
Wood Egyptian coffin lid dating back to 1070-945 BC
This is a legit mummy!!! The embalming process would take 70 days. The body was washed, eviscerated, then covered with "divine salt" for around 40 days for it to become completely dehydrated. The cavity was then filled with bundles and bandages and the skin was performed with oils. The body was then wrapped in linen bandages and a mask was placed over the face for protection before being placed in the coffin.

View of the square

This is an inscribed and sealed clay envelop for a cuneiform tablet. Dating back to 1700 BC. Old school pen pal letters ;)
View of St Peter's

EVERYWHERE we walked there was art. The walls, the ceilings, the floors. It was all beautiful but also very overwhelming
You can see the sea of people...
We thought these were bathtubs at first haha but they were actually where people were buried...oops
This sculpture shows a famous scene from the mythical Trojan war. It's titled Laocoon and when it was originally found several pieces were missing. When they reconstructed the statue they had the man's arm straight. It wasn't until 1905 when a man found the original bent arm in an antique shop! It wasn't reattached until 1958 and they are unsure when the sculpture was originally created but it was somewhere around 40-35 BC

Example of some of the beautiful ceilings.
This is the Belvedere Torso. It entered the Vatican collections somewhere between 1530-1536 and has been greatly admired by artists through present day. Today the sculpture is thought to represent the Greek hero, Ajax Telamonius, contemplating suicide. This singly marble torso inspired Michelangelo's rendering of Christ in The Last Judgement in the Sistine Chapel.
This statue of Hercules was found near Camp dei Fiori in 1864 under a slab of travertine. The inscription on the slab suggested that the statue had been struck by lightning and then buried on the spot, as was the Roman custom, along with the remains of a sacrificial lamb. It shows the young Hercules resting on his club and holding the apples of Hesperides in his left hand. It's thought to have been made somewhere between the end of the 1st and the start of the 2nd century AD, and was probably part of the monumental complex that stood in the Theatre of Pompey.
Example of what the floors look like...tons of tiny tiles
This armor was from 500 BC

The amazingly beautiful ceilings.
All the ceilings were SO detailed that it was impossible to look at everything!
They had an entire hall of huge ancient maps, Zach enjoyed these and said he wanted one for his office (I kept reminding him that his office is covered in football stuff and there is NO ROOM!)
Close up of Italy!
More pretty ceilings

After a break for a pump session we finally made it to the Sistine Chapel. By the time we got there I told Zach is better have been worth all that hassle!!! The ceiling is done by Michelangelo (and it took him from 1508-1512 to complete it) and it shows the stories of creation, Adam and Eve, and Noah in nine frames. On the alter wall is The Last Judgement also done by Michelangelo from 1535-1541 and it's much more fire and brimstone, reflecting the anger and disappointment of Michelangelo's later years in life. 

I'm totally not trying to be a "Debbie Downer" but it wasn't all that amazing for me. The statue of David was much better in my opinion. The ceiling was just SO high up that you couldn't really see everything that well. Plus we had just spent a good two hours or so seeing tons of artwork and pretty ceilings. I'm not an art enthusiast so I just didn't really "get it" I guess...but I don't understand why this ceiling is so amazing when they all are beautiful and looked like they would have taken a ton of time and effort to create. Plus it was JAMMED packed with people and with these annoying guards constantly saying "SHHHHHHH" over and over again. You aren't allowed to take pictures or speak in the room. Talking releases CO2 and CO2 causes deterioration of the artwork. I get that, and appreciate it. But what does taking a picture do?!?! Peter, our "lovely" tour guide from the Florence day, told us that the reason you can't take pictures is b/c the church actually sold the copyright of the Sistine Chapel to some company out of Japan or China or something so they get some money anytime someone reproduces anything in the room. Who knows if that's true...but it does make sense! I snuck a picture anyway, although it didn't turn out half as good as Zach's did of David :) This is The Creation of Man :)

It all was TRULY beautiful...and it probably would have been more appreciated by us if we'd had some type of tour or something where we knew more about it all. We did buy a book and I just read over it now, and still didn't find too much interesting stuff though! At least we can say we saw it right?
Zach and I both are more about experiences than we are sights. (example: I like to TOUCH animals at zoos not just look at them!). I enjoyed buying a postcard from the Vatican and mailing it to the kids more than I did seeing the Sistine Chapel! It's cool to say we sent a postcard from the smallest state in the world :) I sent it to Mrs. Charlotte's house thinking they'd have it before we got home (it was Monday, we wouldn't see them until Sunday). Guess what? Mrs Charlotte called me 2 WEEKS later and said she got our postcard in her mailbox!!! Guess it takes awhile to get from Italy to Valdosta? Oh well, it's still cool!

Mailing it off!
After allllll the walking we did we then had to walk all the way down this steep walkway to get to the exit! We burned some calories for sure!
Good-bye Vatican Museum!
It was only a couple of hours but that junk felt much longer. Thankfully the rain had stopped and we were ready for some FUN (and by fun I mean GELATO!!!).

1 comment:

  1. I just have to say that the Vatican is the smallest COUNTRY in the world not the smallest state, sorry but being of italian heritage that detail being wrong really annoyed me.

    ReplyDelete

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