Day 11: Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museum, and St. Peter’s Basilica

Steve and I caught a cab to the Vatican Museum, where we checked in for our City Wonders tour. Our tour guide told us he was working on his PhD. His retention of historical details was amazing. The radios we wore to hear his microphone crackled constantly, so I occasionally unplugged my ear buds to listen in naturally as he described the circumstances around many of the works, including those of Rafael. In the picture below our tour guide described a painting of a saint who was crucified upside down. 

Interestingly enough, Leonardo da Vinci was not an artist but rather a scientist so he left many paintings unfinished. The face of the painting below had been stolen but later returned. 

From the spiral Bramante Staircase, we enjoyed an expansive view of Rome.

We wandered through the museum for hours. The statue below depicts a Roman athlete cleaning off his sweat.

The people who inhabited Rome before the Romans valued corpulent figures over the muscular ones. The guy in the statue below looks like he needs to go on the Atkins diet.

We wandered through the museum for four hours total but arrived in the corridors of the Sistine Chapel at last. The tour guide told us that the shape of God the Father looks like a brain, an intentional detail that Michaelangelo painted to emphasize the mind and that God is in our thoughts. Instead of painting God breathing life into Adam, which would almost look like a kiss,  Michaelangelo chose to represent the giving of life with the touch of the index fingers.

We were not allowed to take photos or video of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel itself but the chambers before it had plenty of painted ceilings. 

Once we entered the Sistine Chapel and stared awe struck at the ceiling, I wondered how patient Michaelangelo must have been when he started painting the ceiling, because he was 35 years old, my age, when he started and came back when he was 61 to paint the last judgment portion.

We were allowed about 30 minutes to be memorized by the beauty and grandeur of the ceiling before we had to shuffle out through the crowds to continue past the golden doors of the Basilica. 

Once inside I was astounded at how ornate everything appeared. 

After our tour Steve and I caught a cab back to our hotel and enjoyed a fancy dinner at a five star restaurant. 

Steve savored a pistachio dessert.

I ordered a cannoli, a perfect end to our day.

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