Saturday, May 2, 2015

Italy: Sistine Chapel and Coliseum

I. Am. Exhausted. Kate's Fitbit Reading: 7.5miles, 22 flights of stairs. This may be a quick blog update.

First of all, the Vatican Museums were closed yesterday for a Holiday and are closed again tomorrow, so everyone who wanted to see the Sistine Chapel went today. The shuttle from our hotel was booked until noon, so we ended up walking down the hill and up another massive hill to catch a bus to the Vatican area. When we reached the line for the museums, we followed it around the block and down the block and around the corner and decided that we were either going to fork out the money to a street vendor to buy a ticket for a guided tour (skipping the general ticket line) or we were going to NOT see the Sistine Chapel and Vatican Museums. 

We forked out 50 Euros a piece and, instead of standing in line in the sun for 2+ hours, got a coffee and a tiramisu at a local cafe. It was a much better deal.

The tour itself was great. The amount of people inside was insane. I think they said they were trying to get 80,000 people through the museums today. Everywhere you moved, there were 15 people bumping into you, trying to get around you, stopping in front of you. If I didn't have headphones in (listening to Monica, the tour guide) I might've gone agro. But instead I was easy going and learning stuff. 

The tour took about 2 hours and was SLOW walking with FAST talking facts. Thank God for the distraction of the tour. 

Since there are no photos allowed inside the Sistine Chapel, tour groups go into the gardens and stand by big panels of the painting. It was exceptional to learn about the different stories/panels. It was also interesting to learn that Michelangelo painted while standing up and that by the end, years later was nearly blind...and I'm sure had neck problems forever. He also painted his face on the skin of a Saint who was skinned alive - this was his way of telling the church how he felt about being forced to paint this damned ceiling.

Here are some photos from inside the museums.

Julius Caesar

The torso that Michelangelo used as inspiration for Jesus' body when painting

Painted's basically 3D Painting because they painted the shadows
An incredible painted and decorated ceiling - and in the bottom,
the blue flag we were following all day
A small section of a huge piece of tapestry

As part of the tour, we were taken through the Sistine Chapel and then into St Peter's Basilica (which we'd done yesterday). The crowds were large and I was irritated at the disrespect in sacred or holy places. I was happy to have been in the Basilica yesterday when the crowds were small. I wish I could say the same for the chapel, but it was not great. 

Afterwards, we had a mishap with a hop-on-hop-off tour company. Note to everyone. If you're looking to do one of these, book and ride early. Do not think that you will get a seat on a bus at the Vatican after 4pm. No one will get off the bus after 4pm because that's when the line closes to get in. 

So, we decided to catch a tram and then the subway to The Coliseum! It was closed (which we expected as it was after 6:15pm when we arrived), so we walked around outside and made sure to sit and stare for a while.