>Travel Pictures

Rome 2006

The Vatican

A state within a state, Vatican City is an independent country located in the heart of Rome. Unfortunately, the only way in is if you work there or if you visit the Vatican museum, so I decided to go even though I wasn't going to get a stamp in the passport! 

Along the way into St. Peter's, you pass the brightly colored Swiss guards, who (if I remember the passage from that Tom Clancy book) are traditionally mercenaries from that country because of its neutrality and their absolute willingness to sacrifice themselves to protect the Pope. I don't know if all that is still true or not, but they sure are interesting to see!

Entering the Vatican museum is a chore in and of itself. At the start of the day, the line stretched down the block around the corner, down that block around another corner - you get the idea: it was LONG. S I went to St. Peter's instead for the better part of the day and then went around 1 in the afternoon, when the lines were much more manageable.

Now I like history and art, but the sheer scale of the 'stuff' that is in the museum is staggering. I've included a few pictures of what I saw on the way through to the Sistine Chapel - which as for everyone else, was my ultimate goal.


The Sistine Chapel

Entering the Sistine Chapel, you are met with a flood of murmurings and whispers, punctuated by the ever-present call of "No Photo!" 
Being just an ignorant outsider, I assumed they meant no flash photography, since pictures were allowed everywhere else in the museum. Another person there told me that the restorers had actually called for such a ban as a condition of their work so that they could profit from it (and not have everyone walk out with their own pictures instead of buying posters). 
Well I was offended by such blatant capitalism! How dare they demean such a holy place with talk of money and wealth. So I took some 'hidden' photos. While certainly not professional quality, they give a sense of the vibrant colors that were used. My guidebook said that some critics called the paintings a "Benetton Michelangelo" and said the restorers left of a finishing varnish that was used to dull the hues, but I really liked the brightness of it all.


Leaving the museum, I again walked through rooms loaded with such treasures that I was literally numb by the time I got out. This is definitely a place not to bring the kiddies, and to go back to if you've got the time and money to do so!

But then when I saw the Sistine Chapel mousepads for sale in the gift shop, I was reminded of why the photo ban had been in place and walked out down the dizzying spiral rampway, shaking my head at it all.

Rome 2006:

Main Rome 2006 Page - Pyramide - Baths - Circus Maximus - Colosseum - Forum - Trajan's Column - Piazza Venezia - Capitoline - Trevi Fountain - Santa Maria sopra Minerva - Pantheon - Navano - Spanish Steps - Sant Angelo - St. Peter's - Vatican - Life in Rome - Other

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