One of my favorite parts of Rome was popping into a church as we walked by it on the street. I suppose it shouldn't be a surprise that Rome, of all places, does churches right, but I was surprised at the absolute beauty of even the smaller churches that we saw.
When I walked into each church, as the hush fell upon the place and the noise of the street outside vanished, I looked around with awe. I wondered how long it must have taken to create the artwork, the stonework, the marble, etc. And then I just soaked it in.
We never made it to mass in one of these amazing churches while we were in Rome, and that is probably my only regret of the trip. I would have enjoyed it very much.
Here are some photos from the churches that were near our apartment:
The ceiling of this one was particularly beautiful with its vibrant colors and domed ceiling:
This isn't a great photo, but it illustrates the absolute grandeur of even a small altar within a church. Amazing.
We took this for The Boy because of his name:
The Vatican and St. Peter's
But of course the main church event of the trip was our day spent at the Vatican Museum and St. Peter's Basilica.
The Vatican Museum was nothing short of amazing. It was crowded and you had to dodge people everywhere. There was a particularly annoying group of about 50 people wearing green shirts who were everywhere! The good thing about the museum is that it was huge, there were lots of rooms, and you could find a peaceful side room without the crush of the crowds that had amazing artifacts in it.
The museum wasn't just full of religious artifacts like I expected it to be. It was full of everything. Artwork like you have never seen, ancient Egyptian and Roman artifacts (rooms and rooms of them) and of course statues and fountains and churchy stuff.
Artwork: I don't know much about art history, sadly. But even so, the art was amazing. Here are a few photos we took of the art.
Ancient Artifacts: And then there was the Ancient Egyptian section. I kept looking at things, amazed, wishing The Boy could see this stuff.
A 3700 year old Mummy who still had hair:
A breathtaking sarcophagus:
Ancient tablets that had writing on them and were said to be legal documents:
There were amazing views of Rome from the upstairs rooms of the museum:
Statues, Fountains, Churchy Stuff:
And then there were all of the other things - I can't even describe them. Statues, fountains, ceilings gilded with amazing artwork:
And of course, random arms attached to the wall:
The Sistene Chapel
The Sistene Chapel was breathtaking, but also a complete nightmare. We went to the Vatican Museum on a Thursday afternoon, which was supposedly a good time to go because it would be less crowded. Sheesh, if that's truly the case, I'd hate to be in that place on a 'crowded' day.
We weren't allowed to take photos in the chapel, but I'm sure you've heard all about how Michelangelo painted the ceilings with scaffolding and it took over four years to complete. The ceiling was amazing, there are paintings that tell stories from the beginning of man - including the famous one where God is reaching out to take Adam's hand. But my favorite part was the wall that included Michelangelo's Last Judgement. It's a huge painting that depicts the apocalypse and I could've stared at it for hours, if it weren't for the fact that I was being jostled by one meeeeeelion people. Goblin didn't like the crowds and was squirmy - so I had to nurse her to keep her quiet. I wonder if there's some sort of broken law to expose your breast (gasp!) in the Sistene Chapel. :)
St. Peter's Basilica
Here we are outside of the Sistene Chapel, before we went to St. Peter's:
St. Peter's was HUGE. And very cool. This is my favorite photo of that day, although the quality isn't great because it was taken from my phone. Goblin was amazed at everything she saw, and this is her "Whoa, Dude!" face:
This was the fountain inside the Basilica. It was huge - the cherubs were bigger than me:
Here's a cute shot of Hollywood and Goblin looking at the floors:
Inside of St. Peter's they had these creepy looking coffins that had stone statues of previous popes. One of them looked real and it was creeeeepy:
Outside in St. Peter's square, there was a huge mosaic attached to the front of some restoration work that I thought was cool:
Here are some photos we took of the outside of the Basilica and St. Peter's Square:
Our day spent at the Vatican and St. Peter's was amazing. I think you could spend days here and not see everything there is to see.
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