Monday, November 23, 2009

Inspiration: Roma, Part II

The last Sunday of every month the Vatican Museum opens it doors to the public for free and we just so happened to be there the last day of the month. However as Andrew and I found out, this wasn't "any given Sunday."

We got up early to get in line at St. Peter's to climb the dome. There were a substantial amount of people in the square and in the basilica- actually an abnormal amount of people. We got in "line", the line we thought was to the ticket counter to the dome but was actually a line to sit in the basilica for service. It was Pentecost Sunday and we were at the Vatican.

We are not Catholic, we are Christians and believers in God, however I must admit it was amazing seeing the pilgrimage at the Vatican that day. For those of you unfamiliar with Pentecost it marks the descent of the Holy Spirit upon the Apostles and other followers of Jesus as described in the Book of Acts, Chapter 2, or the "Church's Birthday."

Since service was being held we were unable to climb the dome- it really is a spectacular view, I climbed it last visit. We made our way back through St. Peter's Square to go get in line at the Musei Vaticani when Andrew saw the Vatican police...

I am not sure what I did to my camera to make everything look like Smurfville but the most important thing here to notice is that the officers are riding around in a Lamborghini golf cart! Yes, it says Lamborghini and it's a golf cart!

Remember we went on this European holiday for Andrew to drive on the autobahn and for Andrew to see Porche and Mercedes. But Andrew was more excited to see this golf cart than he was to see the coveted engine room at Porche. We could have just skipped the rest right? (Just kidding!)

Since the line for the VM was already around the Vatican wall close to the square I hopped in line while Andrew got Mom and Dad. For those of you who know me, given the opportunity to strike conversation I will. It was suiting that I'd be behind two lovely people from the Netherlands who happen to study in Maine and have traveled to Michigan. As we chatted about the romance and mystery of Rome I shared my knowledge of the city with these first time visitors. Had a Roman been standing behind me they may have been laughing however I was loving being a tour guide!

The entrance to the VM is very unassuming for all that lies behind the doors. Noted as the most extensive and expensive private collection of artwork in the world it's massiveness is noted not only in size but the many names that reside in it's walls. Names like Raphael, Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Bernini, etc. etc.

Again, I need to abbreviate so I'm only going to share two pictures. My two favorites in the VM- the Gallery of Maps and the Sistine Chapel.

La Galleria delle carte geografiche (Gallery of Maps) were commissioned by Pope Gregory XIII by Ignazio Danti. He was a professor of math at Bologna and was appointed by the Pope to paint a number of "modern day" maps of Italy. The room is guilded in every sense of the word and you are in awe by the accurateness and detail Danti places in his works. I have a fascination with maps and this room is nothing short of a jaw dropper. The gallery actually is a long hallway connecting two parts of the VM. However notice the picture... and the frescos above. That's not plaster or cast statues, all the details above the hallway are 2D!

(How do I go from maps to the pièce de résistance of the Vatican collection, the Sistine Chapel?) We made our way up the small back stairs and through two moderately sized wooden doors into the chapel. The Sistine Chapel is the work of many talented painters including Michelangelo, Raphael, Bernini, and Sandro Botticelli. This picture here is of Michelangelo's Last Judgement which he painted from 1535 to 1541 and for five years (1508-1512) he painted upside down, on his back, the incredible images on the vault of the chapel depicting the Bible's defining moments.

It was so cool to see my parents and bother see the beauty and talent of these masters up front. My Dad is an artist and what a cool experience for him to see these masterpieces in real life and not in a book.

Okay, so that's it on the Vatican Museum. From there we headed into St. Peter's Basilica- since Mom and Dad hadn't checked it out yet and the mass was over.

One would think that Pentecost would be enough activity however walking out of St. Peter's we noticed (for the first time even though I'd been walking around there all morning) that there were thousands of people lining the streets an riders with cars were winding there way through Rome's streets. Yes we were smack dab in the middle of the Giro d' Italia Centennial- the second largest international cycling competition to the Tour de' France!

Our afternoon was going to be spent visiting the Forum and the Colosseum, little did we know that the Giro was to end at the Colosseum and that we'd be fighting thousands more people just to get there. But it was incredibly cool seeing these professional cyclists and all their teams finishing the race outside of one of Seven Wonders of the Modern World!

If you haven't seen the movie The Gladiator with Russel Crow you need to. It's a fantasized but somewhat accurate account of the blood bath known as the Colosseum. Construction originally started on the Colosseum in 72 AD- that's over 1,900 plus years ago! Here are a few of my favorite images...

Walking back from the Colosseum we tracked through the Forum and the history the streets and Seven Hills contain. And since I was tired of seeing "old" things I found these adorable Jordan Almond flowers. I must use them for a wedding :)

I don't think any of our 2010 brides are Italian... any takers?

And of course we need a family portrait. I gave my DSLR to someone to take our pic in front of St. Peter's but the focus didn't turn out so this time around I gave my SD800 to the photographer, aka. American tourist, but it appears that a finger print is blurring the bottom right hand portion. It's perfect. Our lives are never really in focus right!

Hmmm... I guess that's it. That's our trip. Hopefully I spared you all the history you didn't really want (even though I love it!) and gave you some insight to the dis-functionality but reasons why I love my family so much... oh and Kyle... yes this whole time I missed him and spoke with him almost daily while he was eating lunch. It was such a gift to travel again as a family of four and I will keep these memories forever. Traveling with 4 adult minds can be challenging but once I put my "little girl" cap back on it was fabulous!

Let's hope our coins in Trevi Fountain work... I am looking forward to my return visit! Ciao bella!


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