Well we did it! Birthday weekend trip to Rome! I guess every birthday from now on will have to include a fabulous Italian destination right? We left on Thursday and arrived back in Norway on Sunday, which means we had two full days in Rome...and every minute was amazing!
First, I feel the need to do a little self congratulations. This is the only bag I took to Rome for the weekend.
I assure you this bag is not that big, it fit easily on my shoulder and had room to spare! I felt so low maintenance and care-free! I assure you I am not an animal and was still able to carry all the necessities. There was argon oil, a curling iron, make up, etc. A girl's gotta live.
This was my face before we left for Rome and it pretty much didn't change all weekend. We arrived late Thursday night and got a good night's sleep before our 10:30 appointment with the Vatican the next morning.
Navigating Rome is not the easiest thing in the world. The narrow winding streets and lack of traditional street signs make getting lost an inevitability rather than a possibility. We allowed plenty of time and got to the Vatican with time to spare.
Enough time for a cappuccino and cake! You can't go to Rome without trying their coffee. It was the best coffee I'd ever had. The cappuccino and espresso was smooth and almost buttery, not bitter at all. I'm a 1 - 2 cup a day drinker, but if coffee tasted like this everywhere I'd have a serious addiction!
At the Vatican we joined a tour group, one so we would learn things and two so we could skip the line at St. Peter's Basilica. The tour was very good and Marco our tour guide kept us informed and entertained.
This was just through security inside the Vatican. As you can see it was a gorgeous day. The Vatican Museums form a rectangle around the area we were standing. Marco took us through the highlights of the Vatican Museums. I'm sure someone could spend days there.
The Roman art was amazing and massive. The picture with all the busts is one small hall in this massive place. The next few pictures are some of my favorites form the Vatican museums.
This sculpture is of some famous Roman god...I think. (As you can tell I was an attentive student to the tour.) What I do remember is that his two sons are being eaten by the snake which is around all three of them and the figure in the middle is the father. It shows his anguish of having to watch his sons death. It is said to represent a father's pain of loosing a child and even though the father is about to die he does not care about his own death, just the deaths of his sons. Sad and beautiful huh?
This is a bathtub that a rich Roman had made because he didn't want to bathe with other people, but we were assured that it probably held him and a few lady slaves...classy!
A sculpture of a goddess of fertility...why yes, those are bull testicles around her neck. Well done for noticing that!
This is the sarcophagus of Constantine's daughter. Constantine brought Christianity to the Roman Empire. Across the room is the sarcophagus of Constantine's mother as well. It's interesting to note that the mother's sarcophagus is covered in pagan images, but the daughter's is covered in Christian images. It was a strong symbol of how quickly the empire shifted under Constantine's rule.
Let's talk ceilings...
The ceilings were incredible. They were themselves immense works of art, but in a hall with other immense works of art. I bumped into a lot of people at the Vatican because I was walking around staring straight up a lot. I don't know how to say excuse me in enough languages...
And then the Sistine Chapel. Ok...I have an confession. I took this picture illegally. You can't take pictures in the Sistine Chapel, but I pulled out my phone and held it half in my purse and half up and got this pic. Not bad iPhone, not bad. I don't recommend doing this. I did see 2 girls escorted out of the Sistine Chapel because they had their phones out and were talking - two big no nos.
The Sistine Chapel was interesting. It was smaller then I thought it to be, but more impressive. The ceiling is the most famous, but it was the big painting on the end that was so powerful to me. I took an illegal picture of that too. (Please don't come get me Vatican Police!)
This picture is not that great and I clearly caught that guy on the left at his finest, but you can at least see the painting. It is huge, several stories high and depicts the second coming of Christ. There were so many symbols in the painting that I would need to do a lot of research to fully be able to absorb everything, but there was something about it that drew me in. I wanted to dive into the painting. I guess Michelangelo knew what he was doing!
The Chapel itself was COVERED with images and symbols and the detail was breathtaking. Our guide Marco said that Michelangelo painted everything in the Chapel himself. He had help mixing color and with the scaffolding, etc. but everything seen was his hand. I wanted to just stay in there for a long time and soak it up. The visceral experience of being in the presence of such great art is indescribable.
At the gift shop outside the Vatican this little puppy was making friends. He wandered inside and outside of the shop. I assume he belonged to someone, but was too precious with his ball!
That's all for now. More on day 1 later...I haven't even gotten to the food yet!