Posted by: illinigirl | June 1, 2009

Rome–Day 2

Oh yeah. . . I failed to mention in the Day 1 entry, that I had us take a wrong turn on the way home Friday night.  We should have noticed within a few blocks that this was incorrect. . . but we were tired and just silently walking in the dark. . . FOREVER.  We probably a few miles before we noticed that there was a problem.  Yeah, can we say “FLIPPING EXHAUSTED???”  We were so far from our hotel at that point. . . and so sleep-deprived. . . that a taxi was procured for a ride home!

So, we started out Day 2 going inside the Pantheon (until I got to Rome, I kept accidentally calling it the “Parthenon”. . . Um, wrong thing).

(I am posting historical info for my benefit for more than anyone else. . . so excuse me for it.  I just forget about a lot of stuff if I don’t write it down. . .)

The Pantheon was built in the first century as a temple to all the gods.  As I sadly learned from the book “Angels and Demons” AFTER I was there. . . Raphael was buried there.  I could I go there and not notice???  I guess I didn’t study the tombs closely. . . sad.

The Pantheon from the outside. . . taken the night before

The Pantheon from the outside. . . taken the night before

View from inside the columns

View from inside the columns

The inside. . . not the best photo, but I have already uploaded them to the web and am too lazy to edit. . . really cool though.  You get the idea.

The inside

The inside

The oculus in the ceiling. . .

The oculus in the ceiling. . .

Another shot of it. . .

Another shot of it. . .

So the lighting wasnt right on this one, so only the light from the oculus showed up. . . kinda cool though

So the lighting wasn't right on this one, so only the light from the oculus showed up. . . kinda cool though

The Pantheon was eventually converted from a temple for the gods. . . to a Catholic church.

The altar

The altar

The dimensions of this building are nearly perfect. . . with the height and width being equal.  I read somewhere that a sphere could fit inside this building with less than a millimeter to spare on each side.  Amazing that this MASSIVE, gorgeous, perfectly proportioned building was built in the 1st century!

Next, it was off to Vatican City. . . the highlight of my Rome stay!

The Vatican is bigger than life.  Yes, I’m Catholic, so as one of my co-workers said, “YOU’RE GOING TO MECCA!”  🙂  That being said, you don’t have to be Catholic or even really religious to appreciate the buildings, the works of art, the history. . . but it was really amazing for me.

We got a private guide by the advice of Lance (GREAT advice). . . We had a guide named Antonio that the hotel arranged for Liz, Shane, and I.  It was a four hour tour, and we rushed around quickly. . . so much to see there.  Antonio was a great teacher and a great storyteller. . . I think we all got a lot more out of the experience having the background he shared!  First off. . . he talked a lot about Michelangelo. . . what a character!  He explained the process of painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. . . no small feat. . . He painted this between 1508 and 1512.  Keep in mind that Michelangelo initially said “no” to this gig because he was a sculptor and not a painter. . . but eventually, money talked!  He painted on scaffolding. . . and etched an outline into the ceiling. . . and then had to paint on wet plaster in a limited amount of time with no mistakes. . . by candlelight. . . and this was a ceiling!  (I painted four coats on my vaulted master bedroom ceiling.  It only took me a few days, and I wanted to die of soreness and neck ache.  Michelangelo was also a perfectionist.  No one else was allowed to paint under his name (many artists at the time had students do their work and signed it as their own).  Michelangelo was also apparently crazy egotistical.  There is a movie that our tour guide recommended called “The Agony and the Ecstasy” that describes the relationship between Michelangelo and the Pope.

One of my favorite things is how Michelangelo painted his enemies. . . One Cardinal that he did not like was painted in “Last Judgement” with a snake biting his genitals!

Okay, but on with more pictures. . .

Me outside of St. Peters Basilica

Me outside of St. Peter's Basilica

We went to the Vatican Museum. . . which used to be the Popes’ different living quarters. . . constantly being refashioned.  There are so many old and priceless works of art. . . as well as works from newer artists such as Van Gogh, Picasso, Dali, etc. . . who have donated art to the Popes.  Supercool.

in the Cortile Della Pigna (named after the pine cone, which is the focal point)

in the Cortile Della Pigna (named after the pine cone, which is the focal point)

Okay, you have to excuse my crappy pictures inside the museum.  Our guide was moving us along very quickly. . . and I was trying to pay attention to him, snap photos, and walk around.  Many are blurry.  😦

Next, we went into a hallway filled with busts lining the walls. . .

One thing we learned was that all these statues had glass eyes at some point. . . but they were all worn away.  Somehow, we never thought about this with old statues???

More busts. . . look at the hair

More busts. . . look at the hair

Loved the ceiling in this room. . .

This picture stinks b/c I was clearly rushed. . . but this is cool b/c Michelangelo loved this sculpture so he used the face as the face of Jesus in the “Last Judgement”. . . even though it’s nothing like the “typical” faces of Jesus we see.

Another sucky picture, but you get the idea. . .

Animal statues. . . initially worshipped!  So. . . what are they doing at the Vatican?  Well, they were all abandoned, but an artist asked that they be put at the Vatican to be appreciated for their beauty as animals and not idols

Animal statues. . . initially worshipped! So. . . what are they doing at the Vatican? Well, they were all abandoned, but an artist asked that they be put at the Vatican to be appreciated for their beauty as animals and not idols

I just thought this was cool with the lighting. . .

Mosaic Floor

Mosaic Floor

Another elaborate mosaic floor

This ceiling is actually FLAT and is painted to look this way.  So cool.

This ceiling is actually FLAT and is painted to look this way. So cool.

The ceiling of my favorite room. . . the Gallery of Maps

These maps were done in the 16th century. . . before planes, cars, etc. . . so amazing.

Italy, of course

Italy, of course

LOVED IT

LOVED IT

Very famous work by Raphael

Very famous work by Raphael

Next, was the Sistine Chapel.  It was kinda crazy in there.  Okay, not kinda. . . The thing is some people just go to the Vatican to see that. . . so it’s kinda a zoo.  I will not share pictures b/c they don’t do it justice. . . check out this link to see pictures if you can’t remember some of the famous works in there.

Then. . . on to St. Peter’s Basilica. . . Holy Cow.  Please go to this link b/c my pictures do not do it justice.  I will show a video in tomorrow’s blog when we went to mass that will give you a little better idea.  It is HUGE.  It can hold 60,000 people. . . and I believe they said is two football fields wide and six deep.

I have some more stuff to write about. . . like the Pope that is buried and displayed there. . . but that will be it’s own separate post someday.  TOO MUCH INFO!

St. Peters foot. . . rub it for good luck. . . look how worn it is!

St. Peter's foot. . . rub it for good luck. . . it is completely worn and looks like he's wearing a boot!

Next, we took an elevator to the cupola. . . and then climbed up the 320 stairs to the top of it.  A bit scary. . . especially towards the top when you are climbing at an angle!

St. Peter’s is 100% mosaic.  Yes, incredible.  This is why you can take pictures everywhere there. . .

The Basilica from the cupola

The Basilica from the cupola (I was taking this picture between a wire guard. . . which explains the dump spot on the right. Too tired to edit right now!

These angels, which look teeny-tiny in the dome, can be seen up close when you take the elevator to the top.

This is where our 320 stairs would lead. . . even higher!

*some* views from outside the top of the cupola!!!

Piazza San Pietro (St. Peters Square)

Piazza San Pietro (St. Peter's Square)

The courtyard with the pine cone I showed earlier

The courtyard with the pine cone I showed earlier

These will be tough b/c I have to make the pics small so they fit on the page. . . but. . .

Can you spot the Pantheon?

Can you spot the Pantheon?

What about the Colosseum?

What about the Colosseum?

On the way back to catch the elevator. . . after walking down the steps. . .

Me and the Swiss Guard.  It looks like I have my arm around him. . . which he would NOT have approved of.  They would pose for pictures, but they wanted us in and OUT.

Me and the Swiss Guard. It looks like I have my arm around him. . . which he would NOT have approved of. They would pose for pictures, but they wanted us in and OUT. (I need to edit the other girl out!)

I’ve made an executive decision that there will be a separate post for Night #2. . . because I have so many more pictures and a video from this night. . . and I will NEVER go to bed at this rate!!!  Stay tuned for Rome–Night #2.  🙂

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Responses

  1. AMAZING posts, Hannah! Keep up the good work…

    I’m sure it’s time consuming, but I’m really enjoying reading about your adventures.

    Plus, in a few years you might forget some of what you did/saw and it will be good to have an online scrapbook of sorts.

    Looks like a super fun trip so far… looking forward to more!

  2. wow. i love all the facts too.
    i love that ceiling that is flat but they painted it to look like it isn’t. beautiful.

  3. That picture of you and the Swiss Guard guy is classic. He definitely looks like he’s smiling a little…or trying not to smile. 🙂

    Your green skirt is so pretty.

  4. […] Rome–Day 2 (Vatican City) […]


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