Written by Si
On our first day in Rome we visited the Colosseum which was something we both wanted to do, more so Soph. Today was the day I got to see something I always wanted to see – The Vatican.
The Vatican is actually known as the smallest country in the World, even though to you and I it just looks like another location within Rome. The history books will tell you different, and so will everyone in the area. Their own laws and rules, surrounded by a huge wall indicates there is something very precious about this place.
If you have not seen the film Angels and Demons, please do – it gives you a rough indication, but it was some of the scenes of this film that drew me to wanting to visit. I advise a tour, but be warned there are many rooms with paintings so be patient. Ancient Egyptian pieces are also present, thousands of years ago these were given as either gifts or some perhaps taken.
The Vatican is covered in the most beautiful tapestries and artwork, predominately done by Michelangelo, where in his last years of life became partially blind and crippled from the amount of paint in his eyes over the years and his persistent bent neck from painting on ceilings. Some of the stories are really fascinating, even to the points about some of the faces you see were painted to annoy others, and Rafael had to paint clothes on etc years after Michelangelo. Corruption, anger and all sorts are painted in history.
Visually probably the best art you will see, and there are miles of it!
You begin in the garden areas, beautiful statues and architecture, learning about the different symbols, positioning and a glimpse of what the rest of the tour will entail. We used City Wonders, the tour guide was fantastic and very enthusiastic which helps drive your passion further.
Moving into the actual building of the Vatican, you are instantly hit with a surreal experience and visual masterpieces.
Words cannot describe and my pictures do not do it justice. It is a sign of human power in the mind to be able to create such beauty – time and dedication, orders of the Vatican to complete it or poor old Michelangelo home town of Florence would be burnt down. I learnt that he was not even a painter by trade!! He was an architect. Perhaps it is this element of style and perfection that allowed him to express this in his paintings.
Going through all the long halls you become speechless with the beauty of what you see. Into room after room, story after story, it is astonishing. You then come to the end onto some steps – it was time to enter the Sistine’s Chapel where once again we were hit with the most outstanding architecture and you can feel and see the power of religion here and what it meant to everyone. Art, architecture, pictures and statues, beautiful!
I will tell you now that having been to several huge cathedrals in the World, this one is gigantic. Underground are the cribs and Tombs of yesteryear’s cardinals and rulers, the ceilings are either glass or beautiful artwork. There are some unique experiences you can enjoy along the way, I wont spoil it – so you need to go to find out for yourselves!
After this amazing experience, we then were left on the steps of St.Peters square, once you walk into the middle of this area, you realise the magnitude of this establishment and what it means/meant to those in the past and present, providing a platform of continuation into the future for many to enjoy also. Keep walking to the bottom near the fountains and head to a Gellato on the main street – the best ice cream I have ever head for sure!
A day we will not forget, absolutely fantastic and a real privilege to have seen.