Our Roman exploring continues with a few more significant sites around the city…
Vatican City and Museum
We added another country to our list. But we forgot to buy Zoe her keychain that we promise her in each country. Ooops. Nobody tell her, OK?
But it’s an interesting little place with it’s own post office, police force and guards from Switzerland, as they are known to be hardworking and loyal. If I were Roman I’d be super insulted. In addition, you aren’t a citizen of that country by being born there, you have to apply and be approved by the Pope, who is also the King. I can imagine his Facebook relationship status is definitely marked “It’s Complicated”. I learned most of this from YouTube, BTW. What did we do before YouTube?
One very early morning (for us, 10am is early, let alone 7am) we had a tour through the Vatican City Museum, the Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica. Here are some pictures from the museum.
We were shuttled into the Chapel like cattle and shushed every 10 seconds by extremely unhappy guards. (Not the Swiss ones.) But it was still so interesting. Michelangelo painted the ceiling and one of the sides. Other painters did the other walls and tapestries. Zoe enjoyed looking for each artist’s signature item, such as a dog, a red bowl, or an unflattering picture of their enemy (example: adding donkey ears and nose – middle school much?). The paintings (frescos) have been cleaned, which is not the same as restored. Evidently, the process by which they were painted onto the plaster is so permanent (chemical bonding) that no restoration is needed – or permitted. But cleaning the frescos is definitely permitted and necessary. They actually left a small corner of the entire room untouched so as to show the contrast between clean and not clean. It’s dramatic.
St Peter’s Basilica
Referred to as “the largest church in the world”, this is where the Apostle Peter is said to be buried. I’m sure there’s all kinds of debate about that but from what I read, there were bones from that era found and were wrapped in a holy cloth typical for people of high honor. So you do the math. Dan had to research the “largest” claim and found conflicting information, depending on how you measure. I’m pretty sure the tour guide rushed us through that part so we could not get on Google and start asking pesky questions. Let’s just agree that it’s freaking huge.
And beautiful. Although, I actually preferred Sagrada Familia, but this one was still very impressive. Evidently, the shrine part (above where Pete is buried) is built from bronze, which the papacy “acquired” from the Pantheon back when the church ruled the world. I guess it was pretty common, to take building materials from one building to use for a different project in another part of Rome. Remind me not to build a house in Rome out of any valuable materials. And DEFINITELY don’t invite the Pope over for a visit.
Video Game Museum of Rome
Wait, what? Yes, you read that right. One day we surprised the kids and took them to a video game museum. Because churches and statues and old stuff can only be interesting for so many days in a row (hint: less than 5). This little surprise was very well received by the young ‘uns and strongly encouraged for the future. Pressure is on. It’s really hard to be such awesome parents, but we make it work. All you other parents are just jelly, we know. Maybe someday you, too, can drag your kids around hot and old Rome, then surprise them with 4 hours at a video game museum while you sit on a comfy couch and check Facebook. Everyone needs a dream. (Pro tip: cell service is better in the back, on the couch… and there is NO wifi.)
You think we are done with Rome? Oh no, we are sooo not done. I have one more Roman numeral I need to use before we wrap this city up.