After that we traveled into the museum itself. Now I wish I could say that I remember the name of every single statue, painting, mural, tapestry, and sculpture you are about to see but sadly I cannot. Especially since this post is coming to you 3 months after my trip. So just enjoy the pictures and if I remember the name anything I’ll be sure to throw it in! 🙂
Our tour guide said this was a coffin for a young child probably from a wealthy Roman family. I love the detailing on both the coffin above and the item below.
These were tapestries, hand sown during the 12th and 13th centuries. Both depicting scenes from the Bible. There were at least 5 rooms with floor to ceiling tapestries.
This was the ceiling in a room called the Hall of Maps. It’s a mixture of 3D paintings and moldings trimmed in gold. Along the walls were maps of Italy drawn from each major century, from the 12-18th centuries.
It was one of my favorite rooms in the museum!
After viewing the room dedicated to the Virgin Mary, it was finally time to see the Sistine Chapel. This is the Pope’s official chapel and as such you are not allowed to talk OR take photographs. I did ok at the no talking part. But I couldn’t help myself when it cam to the no pictures part. I was very sneaky though and luckily none of the guards, who kept yelling “SILENCE” it got too loud in the chapel from all the whispering going on, caught me.
So here is my contraband picture, taken via the front facing camera of my iPhone, of the Sistine Chapel, designed and painted by the famous Michelangelo (the painter, not the turtle).
After viewing the Sistine Chapel, we made our way through St. Peter’s Square and into St. Peter’s Basilica. Which has to be one of the most beautiful churches I have every seen. Thank you, Michelangelo. He was tasked by the Pope to create the church, even though apparently he had been working on another project at the time. But when you’re summoned by the head of the Church I guess you have to listen.
Thankfully, pictures were allowed inside the church as long as you didn’t use a flash.
This sculpture was also designed by Michelangelo and is called the Pieta. It is a recreation of Mary holding Jesus after the Crucifixion. I remember having my students look at a picture of this when we studied the Renaissance period in World History. Seeing it in person is 100% better than seeing it in a photograph. It is placed behind a pane of bulletproof glass because in 1972 a man came in with a hammer, yelling “I am Jesus Christ, I have risen from the dead”, and destroyed a good portion of Mary.
This is also one of the only works that Michelangelo actually signed. He did so because a few people had mistakenly given credit to another artist for the creation of the sculpture. His name is placed directly across Mary’s chest. I couldn’t see it and sadly my camera lens did not zoom enough for me to get a view of it.
This is the main pulpit in the Vatican and only the Pope is allowed to preach from it. There are smaller chapels surrounding the main area of the church where cardinals and bishops may deliver sermons from but only the Pope is allowed to deliver them from this one.
There are a series of mosaics around the church that are utterly breathtaking. They look like paintings from far away but when you get up close you can see that really it’s a series of thousands of pieces of colored glass. I love how rich the color is and how detailed they are.
Well there ya have it. A just a few of the highlights of the inside of the church. We then had a few minutes to explore the courtyard where the Pope does his public appearances. And the area the rest of the world sees on TV at various times throughout the year.
Our tour guide told us that Pope Francis has made 2016 a pilgrimage year. So Rome will be expecting millions of pilgrims come next summer. Thank goodness we chose last summer to go to Rome rather than next summer.
That tiny little chimney you see in the back is where the white and black smoke come out when a new Pope is chosen. I kept having flashes of the movie EuroTrip while we were exploring the courtyard.
Overall I was blown away by the smallest country in the world. The amount of history in this place is unreal and as a history buff I was soaking in as much of the information our tour guide had for us as possible. Even if you’re not Catholic or super religious you will enjoy exploring all the country as to offer.
I would highly recommend having a tour guide with you because there is so much to see that it can get overwhelming. And definitely buy your tickets in advance.
Well there ya have it. A complete recap of my epic European Adventure. I still can’t believe the trip has come and gone already. I am already planning where in Europe I want to go summer after next. After seeing some of the highlights I want to see the rest! 🙂
Linking up for Travel Tuesday!