One huge post
Apologies for the size of these galleries but if you spent 3 lifetimes in Rome you couldn’t see it all. I have managed to cut down the photos from over 1200 to a near manageable size. We were stunned but we did get to see the items on our bucket list (except for the Pope, he was on holidays). I’ll start off with the Vatican. If you get through the 145 photos you’ll have done well. But don’t let size of the first gallery turn you off the second.
Roaming the Vatican
We were on a tour and we were taken across the river towards the Vatican City. After a march along the city wall we came to the Vatican gate and immediately inside the crowd is buzzing with excitement. Through several ticket gates and checkpoints and we found ourselves in a lovely green courtyard from which we entered into the Vatican Museum itself
Digressing here, I remember the 1988 World Expo at Brisbane and the “Pavillion of the Holy See” (https://vaticanexpo.com/ – 2020 Dubai as an example). I distinctly feeling sad that the officials were bragging that “there is more wealth in uncatalogued art and treasures in the underground cells of the Vatican than the 3 poorest countries in the world combined”. This is shocking when you consider that this mega-rich organisation puts out its’ hands every Sunday at church asking the people attending for donations. I thought then as I do now that if some of these riches were distributed to museums around the world and the income derived from viewing it put to proper use (helping the poor) they wouldn’t need to hand around a donation plate each week. Here endeth my sermon.
No Photos please!
Anyway, I won’t try to explain each photo. There are just too many to remember. Just flick through them and enjoy the most extraordinary collection of art and culture from the past several thousand years. Keeping in mind my last paragraph I was cranky that photography was not permitted in the Sistine Chapel (https://www.vatican.va/various/cappelle/index_sistina_en.htm ) so I had to sneak in a couple. About half way through the gallery are 5 outside photos of St Peter’s Square. It was just before this diversion that we entered the Sistine Chapel and you might pick 2 photos* from there.
The Beautiful Basilica
After the Chapel we crossed St Peter’s Square and entered the Basilica. (https://www.vatican.va/various/basiliche/san_pietro/index_it.htm ) This church is ginormous and again the holy ornaments are fantastic. I was particularly intrigued by the statue that seemed to have a ‘blanket’ over the laps of the people in it. I could not believe that the realistic blanket was actually a piece of carved marble. Its about 10 before we exit the basillica and see the Vatican guards.
Wave to the Pope
Our tour guide pointed out the Pope’s office window where it is not uncommon for him to stick his head out and wave. We left the Vatican dumbfounded and very tired and we then left our guide at our meeting point. That’s when we noticed the local produce expo under canvas. The chocolates were delicious.
*“The Last Supper” and “The Making of Man” both Michelangelo works.
A Word of Warning
Before I get into photos of Rome generally I will give a warning to anyone venturing to Italy. WATCH OUT FOR THIEVES AND PICKPOCKETS. Our hotel was around the corner from Porta Maggiore just east of Rome Centrale Railway Station. It is a major tram stop which we were to use quite regularly through our stay. On our first morning, only 20 minutes into a day’s touring I grabbed a pickpocket trying to get his hand into my pocket to steal my phone. Of course he protested his innocence but he shut up and cleared out when I said I was calling the cops. This was the second of several theft attempts we were to encounter on this trip. The first was a taxi driver in Istanbul who cleared out with my shoulder bag and its contents. Of course he denied having it when we caught up with him.
Just Roaming Around
On with the commentary. Shane and I went walking around the suburb later that day when we came across a large Basillica. The Chapel of the Relics of the Passion has an intriguing collection of holy relics the likes of which left us gobsmacked. On display is a nail from the crucifixion of Christ and some wood from the cross. Also there is the phalanx of St Tommaso’s finger amongst other items. My interest was piqued with the copy of the Shroud of Turin, the cloth that the body of Christ was wrapped in after his death on the cross. The inside of the church was magnificent and we were glad we stumbled onto this highly regarded Chapel.
The old city of Rome, as you may know, was surrounded by a massive wall. The remnants of this wall are all over the streets today and the gates at Porta Maggiore are fascinating. Further on and over the next week we saw temples, statues, staircases, fountains and much more. Rome is just full of intrigue and tales of mighty empires. Its’ beauty is unique and the blend of modern and ancient places makes for a tourist’s delight. As I said at the start 3 lifetimes would not be enough to see it all.
No, Not Ninja Turtles.
The names that we learned of in school come to life. Michelangelo, Da Vinci, Raphael, Donatello, Caravaggio, Bernini and others. Palaces to the myriad of Popes who have ruled over the ages as well as Emperors like Augustus, Nero, Caligula and of course Julius Caesar. Then there’s the locations like The Vatican City, The Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain and St Peter’s Basillica. All these people and places we only ever dreamed of seeing come to life.
Yet more to come
You may notice that I haven’t mentioned that round stadium called the Colosseum. I am saving that for the next post along with a walk around the same area where Rome was founded 3000 years ago, the Palatine Hill. All incredible stuff so stay tuned for the next post.
Garry & Shane