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  • Day6

    Day 5 - Rome / Vatican City

    October 18, 2021 in Vatican City ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

    Our morning started off with a bit of urgency. Thinking we had left enough time to make our guided tour of the Vatican museums at 11:30, we arrived at St. Peter's Basilica at 11:20, but could not find the correct line. After talking to a hilariously-dressed Swiss guard, we learned that the entrance for the Vatican museums was was 1km away. It would have been helpful if the tickets had the address on them. But alas, we channeled our inner Usain Bolt and booked it over to the entrance. We waited in the line to get inside and were helped by a lovely lady to join our tour minutes before they departed for the museums. Luckily we only missed the intro. Thank you Francis. We knew we would be seeing the Sistene Chapel, but we didn't really have much of an idea for what else we'd be seeing. As the holy father would say, holy bananas. Gold, more gold, Raphael, Michaelangelo, Bellini, Roman sculptures, etc. Each room seemed more ornate than the next. And boy were there MANY rooms. It felt like every square inch was covered with heavily stylized detail. It was truly a sensory overload. And we hadn't even gotten to the Sistene Chapel yet. In the final museum stretch, we were surprised to find more contemporary artists such as Van Gogh, Dali, Matisse, and Picasso, an interesting juxtaposition from what had come before. Few people even stopped to look at these big name artworks, rushing to the end goal of the Sistene Chapel. But we were patient and got to look at individual brush strokes up close without a crowd. It was amazing. But finally we made it to the Chapel. We were certainly blown away, but after all we had already seen, it didn't blow us away as much as we thought it would. I'm sure the "wow" moment would have come if we had started there. But we had already been desensitized by seeing a great number of masterpieces and an incredible accumulation of wealth. Nonetheless, it is truly a sensational experience. A neurotic, type A, Michaelangelo must have been a true mad man to paint that whole Chapel himself. The true grand finale after exiting the Chapel was a collection of signed soccer memorabilia addressed to Pope Francis accompanied by photos of the pope with Messi and other superstars. This pope knows how to party.

    Our tummies were now grumbling and we were not feeling the greasy-looking, holy pizza. For lunch, we walked a few blocks away to a bakery, arriving right before closing. We got Roman Pizza. Instead of pre-cut slices, the pizza came in a 3 or 4 foot, ovular pie and you indicate how much you would like. With scissors, they lop off a slice and weigh it for price. This is how all pizza should be. Plus, the blueberry pie was unreal. I'm sure there's no butter. After satiating ourselves, we went back to the Basilica and stood in line to get inside the church itself (different entrance than museum).

    Grander than I could have ever imagined, it's clear why this is the heart of Catholicism. Walking in, we immediately saw a Michaelangelo statue. Once again, gold plating and ornate frescos galore. It was interesting to see people practicing in all of the different prayer spots (7 total). There was even a Donatello located in a small nook right off of the book shop.

    For dinner, delicious leftovers from Roscioli last night. Feeling we needed some vegetables, we also stopped and picked up green beans. Amatriciana, carbonara, Buffalo mozzarella, and green beans all washed down with wine. Twas a good dinner 👍
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