Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Vatican

Two weeks ago, I finally made the trip to the Vatican. I know, I've been living in Rome for almost four months and it's a little ridiculous that it took me so long to get there...but it's true what they say; when I arrived, I felt like I had an eternity here to see everything I wanted to see, but time really just flew by! Between all of my trips and activities, I feel like I didn't have nearly enough time to see everything.

Anyway, even though it took me so long to make it there, the Vatican was definitely worth the wait! I had some friends who studied in Prague this semester who visited me in Rome, so we went a few Sundays ago hoping to see the Vatican museums. What we didn't expect to see, however, was this...

That's right...we ended up making it to the Vatican too late to be able to go through the museums before they closed, but we did stumble upon the Pope giving an address from his window. No big deal or anything ;) We were able to hear his address in four languages and it was just awesome.

And just in case you're wondering...yes, he did wave at me, and only me!

After seeing his address to the crowds, my friends and I got lunch and headed back home. A couple days later, I came back on my own and was able to go through the museums and St. Peter's.

Approaching the Vatican

St. Peter's Basilica


Looking up at the dome

Bernini's baldacchino - St. Peter's tomb is right below this. (Read about the baldacchino here.)

Altar underneath the baldacchino

Bernini's Cathedra Petri (read about it here.)

Michelangelo's Pieta, one of my favorite works of art ever

When I studied this in my Art History class last year, we focused a lot on how Michelangelo was able to portray such realistic emotion in Mary's facial expression. Amazing...

Once I left the Basilica, I headed for the Vatican museums. There were a bunch of rooms of artwork that I needed to walk through before arriving at the Sistine Chapel. I took a ton of pictures in each room, but I'll only include my favorites here.

Gallery of tapestries

Ceiling of the gallery of maps

One of the many maps

Then I finally arrived at the Sistine Chapel. I was actually surprised at how small it is...I pictured it to be a huge room, but it was rather small. It was also packed with people...so maybe that had something to do with it. :) No pictures are allowed, and there are guards standing all over the place enforcing this rule...but of course, I managed to take some. I always find a way to beat the system...even if it means keeping my camera in my purse and sticking my hand in there blindly to snap the picture :)

Michelangelo's amazing work. In the middle row - the second box down from the top is "The Expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden." Two boxes down from that one is the famous "Creation of Adam."


The Sistine Chapel is the last stop of the Vatican museums, so after I was finished taking illegal pictures, I left.

Even the staircases in the Vatican are nice...

When I got back to St. Peter's square, I felt the need to take this picture, just to prove that I was actually there and all :)

This was definitely an amazing experience -- and I was glad to have as much time as I wanted to see everything and take my time. I was also really excited that I got to see a bunch of works of art that I studied in my Art History class last year -- the baldacchino, the Cathedra Petri, the Pieta, some of the works in the Sistine Chapel, etc. It's was nice learning about these things, but it's always really exciting to get the chance to see them in person.

(If you're interested in seeing pictures of the other parts of the museums or other pictures of St. Peter's Basilica, here's a link to the album: Click here.)