After the dome hike, we got to go inside the church, and it was unreal. It was so grand with so many amazing pieces of art, relics, altars, chapels, and of course another Michelangelo masterpiece. It really was quite striking to see Mary holding Jesus across her lap. It was moving. Mike really enjoyed seeing where St. Peter was buried and learning about all the different stories about the statues. This was an amazing basilica and truly hard to wrap your mind around.
After the basilica, we mailed some postcards from the Vatican post office (after losing Sara for a minute) and then sped around the corner and down the street to go the museums. The museums are a treasure trove of stuff from Greece, Egypt, Italy, and all over the world. The ceilings were amazing, the tapestries unreal, the staircases inspirational, and of course a 2,000-year-old pine cone statue. How could it get any better? Well, we learned that Mussolini filled in the rivers and canals around Milan with cement creating a mess for today’s residents: Well done Mussolini.
The highlight of the museums, is of course, the ceiling of the Sistine chapel. It really is hard to imagine that being done. Equally fun, is the mural on the front of the final judgment. The Pope’s advisor was all put out by Michelangelo’s portrayal of things, so Michelangelo painted him in the bottom corner in hell getting his genitals eaten by a snake. Don’t mess with the legendary artist or else you will end up immortalized in hell. Pretty great stuff.
From there, we took an Uber back to the apartment, got some food (cheese, grapes, toasty bread, and cookies). Then we walked about ¾ mile to the Colosseum for our next tour. On our way there, some street vendor asked Mike if he was a bodyguard. In the end, I guess he kind of is since he was keeping the rest of the group safe.
Anyway, the tour guide at the Colosseum was no Massimo. It was Dario, like Mario, but without the M or the super. The Colosseum can be done in 30 minutes, maybe 15, because it’s basically a big empty arena. It’s amazing to see, the steps are huge, the stories intense, but it’s overrun with tourist and our group was full of people that had to pee all the time and walked as fast as Joe Biden up a flight of stairs while holding his ice cream. It was a bit painful. Also, the skip the line part of the tour, wasn’t so skippy, it was really just a different line of people in groups. Overall, it was amazing to see, but we were a bit over toured at this point. By the time we got into the Roman Forum, we were done and turned in our headphones and toured on our own. The roman Forum and Palatine hill were much cooler and more interesting than the Colosseum. They were much prettier than the Boboli gardens. It was interesting to see the arch of Titus who destroyed Jerusalem and the temple. There was a little menorah on the arch. It was crazy to think that he fulfilled Christ’s prophesy about the temple. Overall, you could spend days listening and learning about Rome here, but it was time to eat. So, we walked back to our apartment, then ate at the little Osteria by our apartment. The apartment was very average, but it was tucked in with a bunch of great little restaurants. Dinner was wonderful and we got back to sleep after a very long day full of tasty food. It was a nice way to end the day.