I’m not an art buff but when in Rome, you must visit the Vatican Museum. I arrived in Rome on Sunday, 28th September. As it was the last Sunday of the month, the Vatican Museum allowed free entry to visitors. On normal days, it’s upwards of €17 depending on your nationality so this seemed like a good day to arrive. I got there bright and early with my group and after waiting in line for nearly two hours we entered the Vatican Museum.
The Musei Vaticani has an impressive collection of art built up by the Roman Catholic Church over the centuries. You’ll find some famous sculptures and art pieces from the Renaissance period here. The museum is generally crowded and it’s best not to dwell over it because it can ruin your experience. There is art everywhere – floor, ceiling, walls. Here are just some of the pictures I took during my tour with a little information. As a person with no artistic bone it was difficult to keep up with names of the artwork and artists. The one room that photography was not allowed was the Sistine Chapel. It was like the room was guarded by CIA agents wearing their black suits and ear piece. Everywhere we looked we found one of the them suspiciously eyeing us. You are not allowed to stand and look at any of the artworks but asked to “keep moving”. Right. We were in and out of the chapel in a matter of few seconds but what we saw was outstanding. I’m still swooning.
Another gorgeous room was the Gallery of Maps that had a series of topographical map paintings of Italy. Ignazio Danti took three years to complete the painting which contains 40 panels in the 120 m long gallery. According to a tour guide, Popes could take visitors on a tour of Italy from the toe (entrance end) to the Alps (far end). East Italy was depicted on the right wall, and west Italy on the left. The scenes in the ceiling all portray exciting moments in Church history in each of those regions. The tapestry room shows the life of Jesus Christ from birth to resurrection and the amazing 3D effect that they have is quite impressive as they are centuries old. The last one, Resurrection of Christ, is one of the best examples of moving perspective in the history of art and the best executed on a tapestry.
I saw only a part of the Vatican City and unfortunately St. Peter’s Basilica was closed. But it all was worth it with all the beautiful art and the fact that I saw Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Yes, I saw the Pope!