Thursday, February 14, 2013

Rome: Vatican City

Even if you are not Catholic, it is a must see.  The Vatican Museum is a hot and sweaty march through the ages.  The long hallways have a massive collection in each room, one for maps, one for tapestry, and Greek and Roman statues filling the rooms with their carefully covered privates in fig leaves.  Of course everyone who comes here looks forward to the piece de la resistance: the Sistene Chapel, by Michelangelo.  The ceiling tells the story of creation, while one whole wall displays the Last Judgement.  It would be nice to have  more benches for people to lay on to see the ceiling, as it is hard to crane the neck for such a long period of time.  It is supposed to be a quiet place for reflection, but sometimes tourists get noisy and the security guards have to tell the crowd to shush.  It doesn't last long though.  I try not to let all this disturb my reflection upon this masterpiece.  St. Peter's Basilica is the largest Catholic church in the world.  Try not to be here during the death of a pope or you could lose your wits in the crowd.  If only I could climb the statues, but no, you must follow the masses like a lemming and hope for the best.  Michelangelo's Pieta is the best, although up high and behind glass, it is still a breathtaking masterpiece.  Bernini's alter is a baroque mish-mash of awesome beauty. 

This marble statue shows the Virgin Mary seated, mourning over the dead body of Jesus which is supported across her knees.

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