Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica
The “official” Best of Italy Tour began today! We embarked on our Vatican experience with the Musei Vaticani. We climbed an amazing spiral staircase up to see ancient artifacts, massive tapestry designed by Raphael, paintings, pottery, and much more. It reminded us of the Hermitage in Russia. The walls and ceilings were works of art in themselves.
At this point we headed for the Sistine Chapel. No pictures are allowed inside as it is considered a holy site where mass is still heard. Once inside, it is everything you have imagined! It is overwhelming to say the least. We bought a book so we could go back and take time to really look at Michelangelo’s work. Surprisingly, the Sistine Chapel isn’t that big! Of course, a clue could have been the word ‘chapel’ instead of ‘basilica.’
Leaving the Chapel, we header for the magnificent St. Peter’s Basilica. WOW! Fortunately we could take all the pictures we wanted. The challenge now is to whittle them down! We’ve been in other grand churches and cathedrals all over the world and St. Peter’s left us almost speechless. It was opulent and yet had intimate, mini chapels where confession was heard or you could prayer and meditation.
One of the most magnificent things we saw was the elegant statue of Mary and Jesus-The Pieta. It was hard to pull your eyes from the masterpiece! It is so intimate and spiritually moving. How could Michelangelo have imagined what was inside that huge block of marble? Unfortunately, not that long ago someone came in and attempted to destroy the statue, so it is now behind protective glass. Pompeii is our next stop, so keep reading!