Sticky Top Post

Howdy. We've moved from Cayce, but St. Elizabeth of South Rose Hill or Lizette de Waccamaw de Sud just don't do it for me.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Rome Trip - July 7: Sistine, Capuchins, Borgheses, Spanish Steps

Up @ 6 AM, out @ 6:50, arrived @ Vatican Museums ~7:15. The guide books all said that the museums opened at 8:45. When we arrived, we were 1/3 of the way down the wall from the entrance, approximately 4-500 people back. (I counted / estimated them @ 9:15 when the line hadn't started moving.) It turns out that the museums open at 8:45 for guided tours; individuals don't get in until 10 AM.

(Hmmm .... per the Vatican Museum Website - which was not available to us whilst in the line - Museums open at 10 AM starting Jan 8, 2007.)

Sign above our spot in line
Opening Times

The guy behind us in line was taking Fr. Foster's summer class and reading Atlas Shrugged. Vandy Grad. He and Izzy enjoyed the time to do Latin chat - I took a few pics.


The Kiwis in front of us were very vocal when elderly Dutch people started arriving to cut in line ~9:30 AM; one of the Kiwis spoke fluent Dutch and was able to tell them that no one was fooled by their "ignorance of the rules" act. One very loud (& very fun) Kiwi offered the "line jumpers" public humiliation and told folks farther back in line not to let them squeeze in. We had heard that at that point there were >5000 people in the lines, which stretched back to the entrance to St. Peter's Square. Izzy coined the term "museum hooligans," which is what we were all about to turn into. Very appealing to my sense of justice and aggrievedness.

The same smoking police officer from the previous day was there, but he stayed out in the street directing traffic around both the mob and a tree cutting project blocking one lane.


We got into the museums ~10:10 and were there until they closed (we left the building ~2:05 PM.) We ran into the Vandy guy again at the exit. He was going to be late for afternoon classes with Fr. Foster, but seemed OK with that.


Many, many rooms; many, many exhibits. There is no way to see it all. I especially wanted to see the sarcophagus (literally means "flesh-eater," from the limestone that some were made of which was supposed to dissolve the corpse more quickly) of St. Helena.

Sarcophagus of St. Helena
Laocoon Group

We also saw the Laocoon Group (in the Belvedere Courtyard), many other sculptures, paintings, & artifacts, and of course the Sistine Chapel. It's hard to take it all in when the Italian guards won't let you look through a zoom lens viewfinder; a monocular limits the field of view to one face or hand at a time, so it's great for detail. Lot's of sshhh-ing and yelling "Silencio! No photo!", but I'm so glad I've seen it (& lots of the rest of the Museum) in person.

In sarcophagus collection - OT & NT scenes
In front of a river god
Greek & Etruscan Galleries
Pieta, Vincent van Gogh, 1890
Crocifisso, Salvadore Dali, 1954
Gorgeous celings above map & tapestry galleries

On the long walk back to the entrance of the museums I commented on the incredible detail and work in the hallways and ceilings, "This is great work; it's some guy's life work, and no one is paying any attention." Izzy supplied the name I was looking for: Salieri.

We ate our packed lunches in the cafeteria, augmented by (for me) a mozzarella & tomato plate and (for Izzy) a peach, a fruity dessert, and a cappuchino. We mailed the last of our postcards from the Vatican post box before we left.

Vatican Museum - even the Cappuchino is art!

Across town to Santa Maria dell Concezione, home of the Capuchin cemetery and crypt. We bought post cards (no photos allowed) to go with the slides Izzy bought in 2000. We ran into the Kiwis there and then again later on the subway.


From the Flaminio stop it was a LONG walk through the park (OK, long for me carrying a heavy camera, extra lenses, water bottle, and not used to this much walking!) Our tickets were for a 5 PM entrance to the Borghese Gallery. We picked them up and waited in the park where I read some of B16's Jesus book. (Note: No photos allowed inside - be sure to click the links to see some amazing art!)


We watched a Romany woman bent 90° at the waist begging. We gave her some €€‚ since I surreptitiously took her picture. She didn't have a typical pattern of dowager's hump, and Izzy assumes she can walk upright.


It's hard to know what to do with beggars here. Yesterday we walked past a guy who had both hands amputated at the wrist. The injury, added to his skin and hair coloring, made me assume he was from an Islamic country. My emotional response was along the lines of wanting to meet barbarism with more barbarism.

In the Borghese, we saw some of Izzy's favorites: Bernini's Apollo & Daphne, Pluto and Proserpina (Rape of Persephone; amazing detail with his hand pressing into her thigh), the Aeneas group with Aeneas carrying his aged father (sunken, thin, sagging muscles & skin) followed by a plump Ascanius. We also saw the famous scupture of Paulina Bonaparte Borghese (sister of Napoleon) as Venus Victrix. Much more... A great contrast in two nude Venuses, one from Cranach (very elongated) and the other full and soft (Brescianino, a southern Italian painter).

Bus back to Flaminio, subway to Spagna, the Spanish steps. Huge crowds and lots of vendors.


Dinner at Ristorante alla Rampa (Izzy sez: indifferent service and overpriced but tasty; for the best value, do the 10€ food bar).


Fried zucchini flowers plus an asparagus & egg dish (asparagus Bismark) for me. I felt full and stressed about blood sugar (which was 95 two hours later - lots of walking!)


Walked up a side set of steps and then descended the official Spanish Steps.

On the Spanish Steps. Aren't we just too cute?

Back at the apartment we watched a bit of the news and saw coverage of demonstrations today between fascisti and communisti. Our subway entrance has a graffito, "No Reds."


We flipped past Live Earth and watched a bit of Boston Legal dubbed into Italian before drifting off to sleep.

Flickr Pages for today:

No comments: