Vatican City
Sistine Chapel

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31 travelers at this place:

  • Day2

    Vatican City, Italy

    October 3, 2017 in Vatican City

    What a bustling place Rome is, the tourists don’t seem to mind waiting in the mile long queues at all the popular sites. Thankfully we decided to do the Hop on Hop off bus with a skip the line guided tour of the Vatican, Sistine Chapel and Saint Peter’s Basilica. The guide, an Art Historian, was brilliant. We walked through the Vatican Museum and Papal Apartments of Pope Julius II at a slow walk with the guide commenting as we went, there were so many people crammed inside you often got caught up in another group or lost altogether except for the sound of her voice in your earpiece. It was a very full-on 3 hour tour.
    The Vatican City has only 230 residents and in an area of 44 hectares. During Pope Julius II time he commissioned the painting of the Sistine Chapel ceiling by Michelangelo and various rooms in the Vatican by Raphael and this is what we viewed today. The artwork and details just blow you away. The fresco art lasts so long as it is painted fresh when the mortar is still damp, that way the colour becomes part of the mortar. We had a talk about the Sistine Chapel before entry as there is supposed to be silence and no photography. Quite amusing to watch the sneaky photos being taken and when the hum from the floor becomes too much you hear over the loudspeaker SILENCE, the voice sounded just like Dumbledore from Harry Potter. We then were taken to the Basilica, what an amazing place, everything is enormous, the Papal Canopy and altar stunning. What a wonderful day. We finished this off with gelato and Fritto and Pasta for dinner.
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  • Day87

    Vatican City: Popes and Priests

    October 24, 2017 in Vatican City

    The day before visiting the Vatican City we attempted to make our way to see the Pope, but after the ordeal of taking two trains and a bus overflowing with people, a perfect playground for a frotteurist, we decided to abort the trip – probably not something that would be condoned by the papacy. We quickly withdrew upon seeing the lines waiting outside the Vatican Museums and the hordes of ticket scalpers harassing us as we weaved our way to the end of the queue. Again, we're fairly sure the withdrawal method, while apparently a popular technique, wouldn't be supported by the Holy See.

    The following day, it was take two, with a slight variation on a theme. Once again the trains and buses were crammed with people. This time the platform at the metro was so packed that people were in such close proximity that normally people get to know one another first or at least buy a drink before getting into these positions. Not to mention that the health and safety department in Australia would have gone into overdrive if they had witnessed the events of people getting crushed by the closing train doors. After missing two packed trains, we eventually made it onto a train headed for the Vatican City.

    We finally arrived in the Vatican City and were confronted with the queue for Saint Peter's Basilica. The line trailed around the entire square and, after an hour and a half, we made it inside. People filled the room gawking at the opulence on display. Crowds were lined up to file past the statue of Saint Peter and rub his feet. Perhaps they have a foot fetish!

    The Vatican City was swarming with tour groups blocking the paths and generally imposing themselves on everyone else. Tour groups are the modern phalanx, warriors who are the frontline mowing down everything in their path. Fortunately this breed of tourist is only interested in ticking off sites listed in their Lonely Planet guide (tick-box tourists) and we were able to find some respite in some of the less popular museums. The reprieve from the tour groups was only short-lived as we braved the Sistine Chapel. Like herding cattle, we were ushered into the chapel to witness the work of Michelangelo. While we could appreciate the workmanship of the great artist, we were left underwhelmed, unlike the jaw-dropping statue of David.

    The Vatican City is comparable to Disneyland in way ways, with its merchandising, commercialism and long queues. The only difference is that the rides are basilicas and museums and there are no fast passes to skip the insane lines. Shops surrounding the city-state selling icons of saints reek of iconolatry, but all you need to do is confess, pay an indulgence and you will be granted absolution.

    Next stop: Ostia Antica

    For video footage, see:
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  • Day6

    Capella Sistina

    May 31, 2017 in Vatican City

    There are no words. Absolutely stunning.

    On the ceiling and walls of the chapel are the beautiful works of Michealangelo that took 4 years to complete (1508-1512). This is arguably one of mankind's greatest artistic achievements, depicting various scenes from the Christian bible.

    Today, the Sistine chapel is the site of the Papal conclave (where the new Pope is selected).

    Fun fact: Michealangelo allegedly preferred sculpting over painting, and had to be coerced by Pope Julius II with a lucrative commission of sculpting 40 massive figures for the Pope's tomb in return for taking on the Sistine chapel.

    🌍🛫📝: Rick Steves
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  • Day348

    Day 349: Filming in Rome

    January 29, 2018 in Vatican City

    Although I generally don't do videos about sites I've already visited, I decided to make an exception for Rome since it's such a noteworthy one. Basically the entire city is part of the listing, and there's just an impossible amount of ground to cover, so I decided we'd focus in on the ancient Roman parts of the listing.

    So we headed out fairly early, sans Schnitzel, and caught the metro then bus to the Colosseum. Fairly crowded here, and people constantly trying to sell you tickets, guided tours and skip the line passes. And of course the usual assortment of people selling selfie sticks and garbage trinkets. But we ignored all that and headed into the Colosseum via the slow line. Shandos hadn't been inside before, though I had, and we did some filming around here. Lots of people again which surprised me given how quiet other parts of Italy were.

    Done with the Colosseum, we decided to grab an early lunch nearby of a couple of paninis. After this we headed into the Roman Forum, the large area of ruins in the centre of town. This was where the old centre of town was located, full of important monuments, buildings, temples, triumphal arches and so on.

    We spent most of the afternoon here, probably around 3.5 hours just exploring and filming. Once you include the Palatine Hill area (which rich citizens and later the Imperial palace was located), there's a huge amount to see. Quite warm in the sun, making me wish I hadn't worn my puffer jacket!

    Eventually finished and headed across the road to Trajan's forum, which was an expansion but also a separate Forum built in the second century AD, when the original forum was basically full. Remember that everything happened here - markets, trading, law courts, political debates, trials, voting, religious rituals. It's difficult to really comprehend how important the Forum was to Roman life since there isn't an easy analogy for us.

    Also spent some time checking out Trajan's column - a large column made of stone that tells the story of emperor Trajan's war against Dacia (in modern day Romania). It's a series of scenes told like a comic book, slowly winding their way up the pillar - very propaganda heavy, but one of the only primary sources we have for the war which is quite interesting.

    Last stop for the day was the Pantheon, probably the most remarkable building of the ancient world. It was built during the reign of Augustus (first decades AD), before collapsing in a fire and being rebuilt by Hadrian a century or so later. It's the oldest domed structure in the world, and still the largest structure built by unreinforced concrete. 43 metres high, and the square interior is also 43m x 43m. Also inside are the tombs of Raphael, Victor Emmanuel II (first king of Italy), and Umberto I (second king of Italy). All up a fascinating building, and I find it amazing that the dome still holds. Even other ancient domes like the Hagia Sofia have collapsed at various points (the current one dates from around 1300 and is the third attempt).

    At this point we called it a day for filming. Shandos wanted to do a bit of shopping for her niece's birthday - I couldn't think of anything worse, so I headed west. The last thing I wanted to see was Castel Sant Angelo, just across the Tiber and adjacent to the Vatican since I'd never seen it before, and since I was so close I decided to walk over and have another look at St Peter's. Just took a couple of photos in the square, rather than go inside again since I've been inside a few times now.

    Headed home via the underground and then the tram - super crowded the entire way since it was now peak hour and getting dark. Schnitzel super happy to see me since he'd been alone all day, poor little guy. Snacked on some leftover pizza before we headed out for our aperitif, then just had some supermarket bits for dinner - meat, cheese, olives and arancini. Completely exhausted - 25,000 steps today!
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  • Day21

    Vatican City

    June 7, 2016 in Vatican City

    Vatican City is it's own country, the smallest in the world, and entirely within the city of Rome! I have a separate entry to add it to the country count. The country itself has only about 850 residents and they all work at the Vatican - essentially Catholic clergy or Swiss Guards.

    The rest of the Vatican comets are in the Rome posting.Read more

  • Day4


    September 9, 2016 in Vatican City

    Сьогодні були в новій країні хехе:) Ватикан ще менший, ніж я думала. Музеї Ватикану надзвичайні. Аудіогід обіцяв, що ми їх запам'ятаємо на все життя і протягом 4-х годин ми мали можливість переконатись в його правоті. Такого щільного накопичення краси на кв.м ще не доводилось бачити. Риму це стосується також. Просто приходить момент, коли думаєш, ну все, достатньо, я не можу стільки осягнути, стільки красивого, змучуєшся навіть емоційно, бо постійно в захваті. Так, звучить, напевно, дивно, сама не думала, що так буває. Перед тим, як побачити якусь визначну пам'ятку, про яку я лиш читала чи яку бачила лиш в інтернеті і телевізорі, я страшенно хвилююсь. Ніби перед важливою зустріччю. Я думаю: ну, і яка вона буде, чого очікувати, чи виправдає сподівання. В Сикстинській капелі взагалі неймовірні відчуття. Знову ж таки, це неможливо осягнути.
    Собор Святого Петра теж вражаючий. Дуже жаль, що ми не встигли в нього потрапити. Було вже зачинено. Взагалі з робочими годинами, позначками входу-виходу тут і у Римі трохи проблематично... І нам в інформаційному пункті сказали, що ми далеко не єдині туристи, які шось прошльопали через це. Оскільки цього ж дня в нас літак, ми не встигли піти і на пагорб Джаніколо, звідки, кажуть, Нерон споглядав ним же підпалений Рим.
    Але в Рим завжди можна на вихідні прилетіти. Що ми обов'язково зробимо. Значно більше шкодуватимемо, якщо щось з бажаного не вдасться побачити в Південній Америці. Туди на вихідні не прилетиш.
    Колізей, Римський Форум - тут навіть нема що сказати, мені досі не віриться, що я це все побачила на власні очі. Але черги - нереальні. І ми дуже тішились, що купили квитки онлайн.
    Хочеться відмітити, що у Римі дуже багато фонтанчиків з питною водою і взагалі вона дуже добра. Не очікувала від міста, яке має такі проблеми зі сміттям. Пиво чомусь дуже дороге-в середньому 7-9 євро за 0.5 л. До аеропорту ми вже не встигали і взяли таксі, це було дуже весело))) Італійська манера водіння наліцо)) Це і постійно сигналити, і возмущатись як інші можуть так жахливо їздити, і сварки з іншими водіями на ходу через відкрите вікно))) Словом, все як у фільмах)) Крістоф такий: "Нам не треба нервуватись, що ми не встигаємо, він нервується за нас обох" :)
    Італія чудова.
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  • Day3

    Sistine Chapel Vatican City

    March 20, 2018 in Vatican City

    a couple of cheeky snaps in the chapel.
    I knew from my last visit we should have gone out of the door on the right that takes you into St Peters but instead we took the route we were supposed to do, through the door on the left. It took the best part of an hour, we must have walked 2 miles and we got soaked into the bargain. The only plus point I that Dave will never know how far it would have been if we had gone through the door on the right.
    Happy days!
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  • Day1

    Sistine Chapel, Rome, Italy

    May 18, 2017 in Vatican City

    Monday, May 29, 2017

    In the spring of 1509, just two years after a mapmaker coined the word “America” in honor of the explorer Amerigo Vespucci, a fellow Florentine named Buonarotti was beginning to work on one of the defining masterpieces of Western Civilization. His first name—Michelangelo—would also reverberate through the ages. And, like many of the early transatlantic voyages of discovery, his ceiling frescoes in Rome’s Sistine Chapel had gotten off to a terrible start.

    “He was working on the largest multi-figure compositions of the entire ceiling when the actual fresco plaster itself became infected by a kind of lime mold, which is like a great bloom of fungus,” says Andrew Graham-Dixon, chief art critic for London’s Sunday Telegraph. “So he had to chip the whole thing back to zero and start again. Eventually he sped up. He got better.”

    However difficult the conditions—and even the challenge of painting at a height of 65 feet required considerable ingenuity, with scaffolds and platforms slotted into specially fashioned wall openings—by the time Michelangelo unveiled the work in 1512, he had succeeded in creating a transcendent work of genius, one which continues to inspire millions of pilgrims and tourists in Vatican City each year. The Sistine Chapel holds a central place in Christendom as the private chapel of the pope and the site of the papal enclave, where the College of Cardinals gathers to elect new popes.

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You might also know this place by the following names:

Sistine Chapel, Sixtinische Kapelle, Chapelle Sixtine, Cappella Sistina, システィーナ礼拝堂, Capella Sixtina, 西斯廷小堂

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