The Vatican is actually a different country with the Pope as its head. Even when you are in Rome, Italy you must cross a border to go into the Vatican. It has its own currency (money), stamps and guards (whose costumes were designed by Michaelangelo). Since it is so important I decided to make that my first big stop in Rome and I spent the day exploring there yesterday. This was challenging because first of all I was kicked out when I tried to go into St. Peter’s Basillica. It is a huge church with hundreds of years of history. Many of the Popes are entombed there and there are also many important relics built right into the church. A relic is an important piece of something religious, like wood from the cross of Christ or the manger.
I was kicked out because I was not dressed properly. It is very hot here and I was planning to walk back to the place where we are staying after visiting the Vatican, so I had put on shorts and a sleeveless shirt. I guess the shorts showed my knees and my shoulders were a problem, so I could not go in. I was determined to go in, so I purchased two scarves and used one to cover my shoulders and the other to tie around my waist like a skirt. It worked! There is just WAY too much to see here and WAY too much history to describe in this blog post, so I am going to choose just a few things. A timeline is very helpful to me. I created one to put here, but I am not happy with it. I will keep trying to find a better way. If you have a suggestion I would really appreciate it. I am going to be adding to this timeline as I see things because I think it illustrates how everything I see here was built at a different time in history. The timeline starts with the Founding of Rome in 753, which I talked about yesterday and goes to the present with Dill and I visiting Rome. In between I have added the things that I saw yesterday and I will keep adding to it.
The first important thing I want to share about is called La Pieta and it is a statue done by Michelangelo that can be found in St. Peter’s Basilica. Here is a picture of Dill admiring it. It was so beautiful and well done that people at the time did not think that Michelangelo who was only 25 could have done it. In order to prove he was the sculptor he put his name on it on a sash. There are TONS of other very beautiful and important things in the Basilica, but you will just have to visit to see them.
After visiting the Basilica (which is free, but you must dress correctly), I went on to the Vatican Museums where the famous painting of God touching (creating) Man is painted on the ceiling. We had to walk through gallery after gallery of really fantastic art, paintings, sculpture, etc... to get to the chapel. When I got there I was totally amazed. There was SO much to see! the painting of God creating Man was only one of the panels of paintings all across the roof and the walls of the chapel. Michelangelo painted the ceiling and the scene of the Last Judgment in the front of the chapel. Many other painters did the other panels. I was disappointed that I could not take any photographs in the chapel, but I did buy a book and so here is Dill looking at the fold out of the ceiling. Amazing!
From here I walked back to the apartment I am staying in, but I wanted to see one more thing on the way. One thing that many people want to see when they come to Rome is the Spanish Steps. They are majestic and at the top there is a terrific view of Rome, so many tourists spend time sitting on the steps and walking up to see the view. One of the teachers from my school suggested that Dill have his picture taken at the steps and I was glad because by the time I read the note I had already taken that picture!
Last night I had a cone with gelato-lemon, cream and chocolate. I really do like the fruit flavors. Lemon was good. I am not sure that chocolate was the best combination with it though! I will put up a new poll soon. I have also been eating wonderful Italian food every night. I am not sure how they do it, but it is all soooo good. Two nights ago I had bruchetta (bread with tomato and basil roasted with olive oil) and linguini with pesto. Last night was tortollini in white sauce. Like the things I am seeing there is so much richness it is hard to explain it all.