. . . Wow what can you say . . .
We had a pretty early start, Gadget booked us into the Pristine Sistine tour, which basically meant we were whisked through the entry and down several long corridors directly into the Sistine chapel. The Sistine chapel was AMAZING I would loved to have shared some images with you but sadly the Vatican sold the copyright of the images to a Japanese television company for 20 years, to gain money to assist in paying for the restoration of the chapel. fortunately for those of you travelling to Rome in 2019 you will be able to photosensitive the copyright expires then. For me they will forever be etched in my mind. I would love to say that the pristine Sistine tour was great, but to be honest I was a bit disappointed, the chapel was supposed to be pretty empty but it was pretty crowded . . . But Gadget tells me that when he was there 2 years ago it was very very crowded in there later in the day, like body to body contact . . . So I guess it was bent too bad.
After the Sistine Chapel we were guided back down the corridors we had previously been rushed through. The image above is the roof of the Map room, a very long corridor with detailed maps of the various areas of Italy. The Maps are frescos painted in 1580, so they are over 400 years old. Each Fresco has a detailed map of its capital city . . . You should see Rome . . . It was very small. What I learnt at the Vatican, which I never knew was that frescos are painted onto wet plaster, and this is why they last so long.
One of the beautiful frescos painted around the time the current St. Peter's Bascilica was built
A courtyard in the Vatican City, the antenna in the distance is for the Vatican radio which can be heard in all five continents, in 39 languages.
A small snapshot of one of Raphaels paintings in the Raphaels rooms, if you zoom the image you can see the man wearing the grey outfit with the white collar, behind him is a young man looking straight out of the painting . . . This is believed to be a self portrait of Raphael. Raphaels paintings were amazing , sadly however these rooms were packed and it was quite difficult to move around in them and we had to move on far too quickly to really take them all in. We travelled through many areas within the Vatican , Raphaels rooms, several rooms with modern art in them we passed back through the Sistine chapel briefly to exit into the nearest entry to St Peters Bascilica. The tour was really interesting.
Saint Peters Bascilica
This is the absolutely stunning amazing "Pieta" carved by Michaelangelo in 1499. Michaelangelo carved this sculpture from just one piece of Carrera marble. It is truely the most amazing piece of sculpture and it has the notoriety that it is the only sculpture that Michaelangelo signed. The story goes that, the sculpture was on display and was receiving a lot of admiration, Michaelangelo overheard some admirers discussing the sculpture, when he heard it was attributed to another artist he felt annoyed, so late at night he returned to his sculpture and carved his name into the fold of Mary s dress, he later regreted his vanity and never signed another sculpture. The Pieta is just inside the doorway of the Bascilica on the right hand side, sadly behind and protected by bullet proof glass as it was attacked in 1972.
This is the main nave of St. Peter's Bascilica, up in high alter area you can see a dark brown almost black canopy. This canopy or baldachinno is positioned over the Papal alter directly over the burial site of Saint Peter and stands twenty-six meters high It is was designed and created by Gian Lorenzo Bernini and was crafted from bronze that was partially taken from the ceiling and pediment of the portico of the Pantheon. It took 3 years for Bernini to create this his first masterpiece for St Peters Bascilica. When you consider the height of the Baldachinno and you see how much higher the roof of the Basilica is it gives you some perspective on the enormity of this church. It has the longest aisle in the world. As an interesting tidbit, on the centre nave floor is a list ( in marble) in order of size of the longest aisles of Catholic church's in the world I was pretty excited to see that Sydney came second . .
The outside of Saint Peters, as you can see it was pretty stormy, and it was starting to rain.
However this phot was taken just 1 km down the road about 25 mins later, the weather changes
quickly here. This is the Graceful Tiber river.
After the Vatican tour we headed towards the
This was another of those just " WOW" moments , you know, things are old but when your hand touches marble that was carved almost 2000 years ago you just think . . . I really don't know how to explain it other than just WOW.
Taking a photo inside is a bit challenging, huge crowds ect, but it's really lovely. The wall and floor are covered by the most lovely marble in a variety of colours and shapes. In the niches around the walls are religious chapels and the tombs of two Italian kings and the artist Raphael (with his fiancée buried beside him) I was surprised to see he died so young, just 37 years old.
The amazing concrete dome, it was wonderful being inside the pantheon on a cloudy day as we had the opportunity to see they play of light as the sun went behind the clouds, it was really lovely. They say that it's amazing being there when it rains.
After the pantheon we headed off to see this cute little guy "Bernini's little elephant". This little guy was designed by Bernini and execute by one of his students Ercole Ferrata. The elephant supports an obelisk that dates back to the 6 th century BC. It has a really cute little story or it's possibly more of a myth really. The story goes that this sculpture was commissioned by a cardinal, Bernini wasn't particularly fond of this cardinal so he designed the statue and had it positioned so that when the cardinal looked out his window , he looked directly at the elephants backside . . . . LOL
Not far from Bernini's little elephant is this well known fountain, the Trevi fountain. This delightful fountain was designed and built in 1762 by Nicola Salvi. In 1629 the Pope requested Bernini to design a fountain, however Bernini's design was never realised, the architect did use many Bernini styled features. Again another quintessential Roman sight, it is so pretty, and whilst we were there a couple got engaged right there in front of us, to the cheers of the whole crowd when the future bride said yes . . . .
It was a little busy there on the day we were there but I am hoping to return early in the morning when it's a little less crowded and I can hopefully get some more wonderful photos.
A wonderful day filled with seeing some absolutely amazing sights, Rome is amazing