Oh my what a wonderful experience. I started in the Vatican Museum after about an hour lining up to get tickets. The first corridor we went into was dedicated to marble statues.It was around 50 metres long and lined each side with shelves of busts and statues. What was amazing was the actual amount of these that were there. Previous to this, in other museums, I saw maybe a display of 15-25 in a collection but in this room alone there would have been hundreds. There were two rooms that were dedicated to animals, both real and mythical. Again to see so many in the same place was amazing. And so started the rest of the amazing journey. Another corridor the same length had painted ceilings, as did most of the rooms, however the sheer size of it was what made it stand out so much. Along the walls of this corridor were hand painted maps of Italy and some of it’s regions at different periods of time. I was really looking forward to seeing some of the Old Master’s paintings and couldn’t wait to get to the Raphael Rooms. To think that these painting were done in the 1500’s and are still such a wonderful sight to see, they have been well preserved. As I was walking through I came to a room where there were more recent Religious artworks and were pleasantly surprised to find a Salvador Dali. I shouldn’t have been surprised by anything at that stage but there was much more to come. Corridors with wall sized tapestry artworks, a case with antique Bibles, antique World globes and so continued the journey towards the Sistine Chapel. The first sight inside the Sistine Chapel was jaw dropping. I was expecting to see a working Chapel with pews and all but it has been emptied of all except the Altar and a bench seat around the edge, so you can stand and appreciate the sheer beauty of the artwork from Michelangelo. The entire inside walls and ceilings are decorated with frescos from the Master and I just stood there amazed. It is such a lot to take in and it would be lovely to be able to photograph it to look back on but I don’t think that you would ever capture the true effect as a whole. (And photography isn’t allowed anyway)
I moved onto St Peter’s Square and Basilica from the Vatican Museum and I thought that it would be hard to top what I had just seen. Again the sheer size of the Basilica is enormous and it is hard to imagine how long it took to build and how labour intensive it was. There are many small chapels inside and many Pope’s are entombed within, each Pope has a bust or carving about them somewhere inside telling of their achievements. One chapel has an amazing sculpture from Michelangelo.
There is a small museum called the Pope’s Museum within St Peter’s and it holds many vessels, plates, candlesticks and crosses used over centuries and also robes that they have worn. They are mostly gold and encrusted with jewels (some are amazingly large!) Again there was no photography allowed in here.
After walking around for about 6 hours I left feeling that I could have stayed longer as there seemed to be more to see. So with that feeling in mind I am sure that if the opportunity came again I would happily spend the time to experience it all again. Patti