Saturday, March 14, 2020

The Vatican Museum and St. Peter's Basilica

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Last summer in Rome was sweltering. We went to Vatican city on our second day in Rome. Did you know that Vatican City is the world's smallest recognized independent country? I was surprised that this little city has a population of fewer than 1000 people living within the Vatican walls.

And it is one of UNESCO's world heritage sites with its walled enclave nestled within Rome.

The Vatican is near the centre of Rome, that's why most people who visit Rome also spare their time to take a look at this little city. That was what cross inside my husband's mind. He has never thought of visiting the Vatican at all. Still, he thought it'd be beneficial for me to visit the museum and study the arts, so he booked and prepared everything.

He knows me very well that I'd be tremendously impressed to observe the art inside the museum, and he wasn't wrong.

We began our day with a small breakfast in our Airbnb. Our host was kindly prepared us some toasts with lots of spreads and jams to choose. I had yoghurt for my gut, this is to support my health during the trip.

The trip from the centre of Rome to the Vatican is about one hour. We went out quite early to prevent any lateness because we have to locate our tour group first near the museum. It was quite confusing because we couldn't find the sign, and the colony of people lined up on the road made it worst.

There were a lot of people offering a guided tour or cut the line service in a group. We have booked the fastest service in advanced, so we could have more time inside the museum. As long as the charge is still affordable, we would take the chance.

The line of people queued up in front of the museum was insane. Even the group with fast service still had to wait for a few minutes. I don't remember how long we have remained there, but I think it was around 30 - 45 minutes if I'm not wrong.

The first feeling I had noticed in me was impressed. I was impressed by mostly everything in the museum; the art, the collection and historical items were all very impressive.

We grabbed the audio tour and paid for some money to get more information about the collection. It was worth it, but I was overwhelmed by all the massive collection and the sea of people. My brain started to burn-out because of the countless information, lol.

Most of the tour will bring you straight to Sistine Chapel, but because we were there privately, we had a prolonged time to explore the other rooms. It was nice to take things by our pace, but we had to be careful with the time.

Firstly, we started with the Gregorian Egyptian Museum. It was huge, full of collection from Roman Egypt and Egyptian-influenced Rome, plus some artefacts from the ancient Near East.

It was fascinating. As a child growing up in the Buddhist family, we have some rituals to do to celebrate this or that, one of them is when someone in our family has passed away. I've noticed that even thousands of years ago, the funerary customs of ancient Egypt is somehow quite similar to the Chinese. It is not particularly identical, but at some point, I can see the pattern of how people in the old days responded to death.

One of the mummy, could you imagine if he is actually get up and smash the glass wall?

All the collection in the Gregorian Egypt Museum is insane. It is founded in 1839 by Pope Gregory XVI, and it occupies nine rooms in Musei Vaticani. At first, we explored all the collection one by one, read the historical story on the board and listened to the audio guide for more detail information. However, then, we realised that we have spent too much time in one room. We've agreed to move as quickly as we could, so we had more time to visit another museum.

We have passed by a lot of museums, I couldn't remember them all, but one thing for sure, there are a lot of statues!

animal hall

After we walked within some rooms, we arrived in Chiaramonti museum. This museum has over one thousand examples of antique sculpture. It is one of the most important collections of Roman portraits.

It is interesting to see how this long straight room carries the art together; sculpture, architecture and painting. I really wish I had more time to explore all the museums as the Roman empire is one of my most favourites era in art history.

When we looked at the time, we didn't realise that it was past lunchtime. I was pretty anxious because of the time, and the reality about how quick we moved through all the rooms was making me even frustrated. I really want to explore all the places but too bad we haven't got the time.

We have passed a lot of chapel with stunning painting and architecture. All the details were fantastic in my eyes. I honestly wonder how they constructed it? We both toured with awe until our neck almost dislodged. We rotated our head too much, from the left to above and to the back.

Please beware of the pickpockets here because, in summer, the number of visitors is insane. Don't forget to bring some waters to keep yourself hydrated.

This looks like a palace.

Most of the paintings tell the story around Christianity faith, historical events and perhaps some other stories that I didn't know yet. It was fascinating to see all the works, the details and all the integrated art in this museum.

We later arrived in Sistine chapel, the most popular rooms in this museum. This is the main chapel in the Vatican Palace, and its walls are painted by the finest artists of the 15th and 16th centuries. One of them is the Last Judgement by Michelangelo, who painted the best altar fresco and was completed in 1541.

The room was packed of people, and it was hard to really walk around without bumping to someone. There were some securities indoors, one of them was holding a microphone, and he repeatedly said, "SILENCIO...", because the visitors were too noisy for this sacred place.

All the pictures were taken from the official site of Musei Vaticani.

I know that this room is the most stunning rooms in this museum, but please follow the rule inside; no photos, no shouting, no chatting, no running, and so on. This room is a sacred place, and the decoration is the ultimate treasure of the Vatican museums, so please, give some respect.

Some people seem really upset when they find that they cannot take any pictures inside this chapel. I found a lot of people secretly sneaked their phone with their hand and tried to capture some images, but eventually got noticed by the securities. 

I had the urge to do the same thing as well. I thought I have paid some money to be here but why just one snap wasn't allowed? But I didn't do it in the end because I valued the place and the rules. It didn't matter to me anymore. Some of the paintings are stored in my memories, the rest I can just hit google to find it. 

I'm planning to get a book about Michelangelo someday #crossedfingers

The twelve paintings on the south-north sidewalls show analogous episodes from the life of the Christ and - Moses. It was painted by artists including Perugino, Botticelli, Ghirlandaio and Signorelli.

The astonishing central panels show the stories of Genesis, from the creation to the fall of man, to the flood and the subsequent rebirth of mankind with Noah. This is another masterpiece by Michelangelo and the magnet of this museum.

We stayed for approximately 15-20 minutes in the chapel. We studied the paintings and recalled the scene from the bible. I know nothing about the scripture, so I asked my husband to explained the story to me. It was enchanting, Michelangelo is genuinely a magnificent artist.

After we visited the Sistine Chapel, we tried to find the way out while calmly strolling in the garden. Even though it was packed inside, but the garden was pretty empty, I guess no one really cares about the garden, lol. The garden is beautiful, but not too big.

This picture looks so dreamy because of the dazzling sunshine.

We chose to have some lunch first before going to St. Peter's Basilica, it was half-past two, quite late actually. It was impossible to continue the trip with an empty stomach, and it wasn't appropriate for our health as well. We didn't want to drop the Basilica, so I quickly discovered some places in the google-maps.

Bye Musei Vaticani, I'll miss all the arts there!

I quickly browsed for the nearest place from the museum and found this little panini bar named Panino Divino. I heard that this store sells the best Panini in town, we would like to try it, besides that, we need something fast.

We ordered different paninis, mine was a bit spicy, and we got different meat and cheese. Mine came with mushrooms and salami, my husband got the Prosciutto ham. They both so delicious.

My husband usually dislikes sandwiches or anything like that. But he claimed that this panini is the best; the bread was fresh – crunchy, the meat was flawless, and the cheese was lovely. I couldn't agree more.

After we finished our lunch, we grabbed one cone of fancy gelato at Lemongrass, it was yummy! Italian is really good at making gelatos, they are a must-eat in summer.

We strolled around the shopping complex, and my husband noticed a cute bag with a shape of poodle and cat on the display window. He persuaded me to go inside the store and take a look at the bag because he thought it'd suit me. The bag is so adorable and made of leather. I picked the dusty pink colour and the poodle shape, I'd love the chihuahua-shape if they have it tho.

I didn't plan to shop so after my husband purchased the bag for me (thanks sayang :D) we moved to the train station. We chose the train instead of walking to St Peter's Basilica. It was not that far actually, but we did not want to hurt our leg, so we took the commute. We have arrived within minutes.

We protected our swollen legs, money wasn't that important anymore. It's not that expensive to commute in Italy anyway so yeah, sometimes we need to decide wisely.

We both stunned by the large Piazza San Pietro in front of us. This square is designed initially as an appropriate forecourt. It was said, "so that the greatest number of people could see the Pope give his blessing, either from the middle of the façade of the church or from a window in the Vatican Palace".

St. Peter's Basilica is the largest church in the world, and just located in front of this open area.

Summer is the perfect season for the holiday because I love the clear blue sky like this! The heat sometimes put me off tho, but nevertheless, this place is breathtaking.

At first, we didn't plan to enter the Basilica, but since we got a few hours left, we decided to queue. The line wasn't that long at that moment, so we both quite happy. We didn't need to purchase any ticket to visit the Basilica, and that was good.

The entrance was amazing, but it was a little bit hard to take some pictures there because there were a lot of people sitting in front of the door. Until now, I keep wondering why.

When we entered the church, the architecture was blown me away. It was extraordinary! We were lucky because we had seen the Crepuscular rays in St. Peter's Basilica at that time. We didn't expect it at all, but the light was dreamy and divine.

I couldn't stop admiring all the paintings, sculptures, architectures and the overall details of this church. The baroque and renaissance style of this church's art is my favourite art movement of all time. 

Michaelangelo also contributed to the construction of St. Peter's basilica; the floor plan and the redesigned of the dome.

It is found that there's a site of Saint Peter's tomb under the St. Peter's baldachin structure – by Bernini. Besides that, there are over 100 tombs beneath this church, including 91 popes and other personages. 

You can join the Vatican Necropolis tour if you want to explore the necropolis underneath the Basilica, where the tomb of St. Peter is located. The visit is considered as a special one and is organised by the Excavations Office.

The altar with Bernini's baldacchino

Possed for the last time before we went out of the Basilica. I wanted to spend more time inside, but it was near the closing time, so we must continue quickly. At least I have seen the incredible architecture of the Basilica with my own eyes.

We felt so tired because our schedule was really full in Rome. Rome is just rich in impressive ruins to explore, and I honestly think three days wasn't enough, haha.

It was the time for the guard to change their shift and people were already lined up there to watch. I love their uniform tho, it looks unique, and it reminds me of Hisoka's costume.

Time to say goodbye to the Vatican, I had a great time there even though my brain was going to explode. The history is engaging to read, but I'm not writing it all in my post because it's too long and probably tedious for you. Anyone interested, please use the google search engine /kiss/.

My favourite tree! Wish I could plant it in Indonesia.  D:

My happy husband and his super thrilled wife with the camera.

We hoped we could continue our journey to another place, but it was a bit late at that time. My husband wanted me to decide. Even though I really wanted to visit the other sites near this square, but I dropped the idea. I just wanted to take a long bath, a quick dinner and jump directly to the bed.

I thought it's best to go back and have some rests because tomorrow we will explore some places in Rome all day. I tried to take care of our body because we still have a few days on this trip, and I didn't want one of us to get ill.

I know some people who happen to be unwell during their trip, and the journey becomes sucks. For me, we have to enjoy our trip but still put attention to our well-being so we can explore the country with all our best. We want to be as realistic as possible with a planned schedule that is adjustable to our circumstances, don't we?

We have spent a lovely one day trip to the Vatican, and we only visited two places; The Vatican Museum and St. Peter's Basilica (along with the square of course). The Vatican is not a big city, and you can explore most of it in one day, two days is fine if you plan to spend one day in the museum and one day in the city.

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