- Fizzy Thoughts: Italy Trip: Day Six

Italy Trip: Day Six

Wednesday, October 03, 2007


After an exciting morning spent doing some laundry and draping it all over the bedroom to dry, we headed off to the Vatican. We walked down Via Giulia, which was just a few streets over (towards the river) from the apartment. We looked at some fancy real estate and a beautiful bridge supposedly designed by Michelangelo:

We also walked by headquarters for the anti-mafia police. No, I didn’t take a picture of that one. We crossed over the Tiber to enter Vatican City, created as an independent country in 1926 by the Lateran Treaty (aren’t you glad you know that now?). We walked down Via della Conciliazione, where we saw a funeral and nuns eating gelato.

For some reason, that struck us as amusing. The gelato, not the funeral. I bought my most expensive bottle of water yet (2 euros, doesn’t it seem wrong that it’s more expensive in Vatican City?) after standing in line listening to American tourists bitch about cars driving down the narrow streets. One lady complained that “there’s not even room for me to back up, the car is too close!”

We stood in the Piazza San Pietro and stared at the really long line to get into St Peter’s.

And we felt the really hot sun. So we skipped it and went over to the Vatican Post Office so mom could mail her postcards, and then we went and had paninis at a restaurant on Piazza Rigormento. I had booked another tour, this one for the Vatican museums. We waited 45 minutes, but never saw our guide. So we took off for the museums on our own. The line wasn’t bad at all, mostly because it moved quickly. First we went through security, then we bought our ticket, then we went up a steep escalator and through a big courtyard (with a big weird globe like thing and a ginormous pine cone) and finally into the museums. The signs kept pointing to the Sistine Chapel, but it was 2 hours before we got there. Along the way we saw:

  • The giant globe (1990), which is supposed to symbolize our relationship with the earth
  • Octagonal courtyard with a cute little marble house (and other statues)
  • Clio, the muse of history
  • Giant bronze Hercules, once struck by lightening
  • Hall of Maps
  • Flemish tapestries
  • Raphael’s rooms – painted for Julius, who refused to live in the Borgia apartments and hated the Borgia's so much he had the walls painted over
  • Brief views of the gardens out the windows
  • And beautiful floors and ceilings

Finally, we made it to the Sistine Chapel, where every minute the guards say “SSSSSSSSSHHHHHHHHHH!!!! Silencio! No photos!

On the way out you have to go through the modern art section, which seems to go on forever. We were not impressed. Finally, we made it out and walked back to the apartment to rest our aching feet and drink wine. Dinner was as local as you can get…pizza right across the street.

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In a real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read. It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish. ~S.I. Hayakawa

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
~St. Augustine

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
~Mark Twain

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