Week 2 – Rome
Our second day in Rome was as glorious as the first, but in different ways. The first week we spent mostly strolling the outdoors and admiring the beauty of the streets, architecture, and landmarks, while this time we focused mostly on the rich art and tradition found at the Vatican Museum. We planned it this way on purpose, as to truly appreciate the Vatican Museum you really need a full day (at least) dedicated solely to it, as every single square inch of the place is a feast for the eyes – so you need to savour it.
When you reach the end of the museum you reach the pièce de résistance – the Sistine Chapel. The structure itself is usually a bit of a surprise to some, as it really just is a “chamber” of sorts: four walls – that’s it. But….the artwork takes your breath away. Michelangelo’s The Creation (the ceiling) and The Last Judgement (back wall) are among the many great pieces of art that this Genius created, and are a must-see to anyone who ever has the chance. Bucket-list material for sure. Mark it down. Make yourself a promise. In the meantime, do yourself a favour some afternoon: sit down with a cup of tea and Google this man. His achievements in his lifetime are so astonishing it will move you – without a doubt.
Now, you are not allowed to take photos inside the Chapel, and the reason may surprise you. Most think it is because it will fade and damage the paintings, but that is why you can’t take flash photography, and no one should ever, ever, ever do that. But the real reason that you can’t take photos even without the flash is because 20 years ago a Japanese company donated a substantial amount of money to fund the restoration of the Chapel, and in turn owned the rights of any images of the interior. So…basically if you want a photo you have to buy one. Unfortunately, our camera went off by accident while we were holding it down by our leg….
After the Vatican Museum we ventured off on foot again (we walked easily 10 miles a day on this trip!), as we still had a few things to cross off the list before the day was done. Thankfully, my parents and my husband trusted my navigation skills and vague memory of our whereabouts from 12 years ago, but nevertheless, we still spent a lot of time “in the map” just to be sure. (ps – if you get the reference, leave a comment – bonus points for you!)
A visit to Rome would just not be complete without a stop at the Colosseum – another must-see, and one of my personal favourites. The Colosseum is just so impressive. There it is, standing majestic and proud since 72 AD, so much history took place within its walls and chambers, you can almost feel the roar of the crowds when you stand overlooking the animal’s dens. And then across the street is an electronics store. Life goes on, I guess.
Another fun thing is the “Mouth of Truth”. Legend has it that if you put your hand in the mouth and you are not a truthful person, that the Mouth will bite your hand off! This sculpture was also famously featured in the movies Roman Holiday and Only You. (Great films, by the way!) Naturally, I suggested Chris give it a go….
As always, it was imperative that we finish off the day with a hearty helping of Italian carbohydrates and white wine, and as always, it proved to be a glorious way to top off our visit . Salute, Roma!