Sunday, June 17, 2012

The Vatican and St Peter's Basilica

We had originally planned on doing the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel and St Peters Basilica all in one day but when we went around to the line to St Peters and saw it wrapping around the circular piazza, almost the entire circumference we decided to come back the next morning which was perfect! We had pre booked our tickets on line for the Vatican Museum which assigned us a time slot for entering and allowed us to skip the LONG line and go right in. I think it cost a nominal fee so it was well worth it. We decided that the main items of priority in the Vatican Museum was the Hall of Maps and the Sistine Chapel. If we saw more great and if not we would be happy. We didn't want to wander around and then have screaming, tired kids when we got to the things we wanted to see.

The staff at the Vatican were so accommodating and helpful with guiding us to elevators, helping us carrying strollers up the stairs and just really great. We walked down this hallway towards the Sistine Chapel first.

We couldn't take pictures inside The Sistine was really dark, crowded and I was slightly overwhelmed with the two kids so I don't feel like we really got to inspect each and every fresco and truly take it all in. It was beautiful and took your breath away. I have been reading more and more about the massive restoration work and some of the complaints raised about the severe processes used and the possible affects on the colors and shadows. It was amazing to see how every single surface has beautiful works of art on it. 

We then made our way to the Hall of Maps which was amazing! I loved seeing all the maps on the walls and the ceiling was incredible.

We then got completly lost and somehow managed to get back to the Sistine Chapel area we managed to see more than we planned including some amazing tapestries. We took a break at the cafe and then found our way out. We stopped and sent postcards to G and Papa from the Vatican Post and then headed out.

Most people go down the circular stairs to leave but since we had the strollers we were treated to the most luxurious elevator I have ever seen. 

The next morning our first stop was St Peter's Basilica which took my breathe away. Peyton was really interested in where we were and was full of questions which I loved. 

It was such a wonderful moment when I was explaining to her Michelangelo's Pieta. I didn't get a picture (so here is one off Wikipedia) because I was enjoying the moment of explaining the crucifixion and the Virgin Mary and just seeing the awe in her eyes was amazing. I loved answering her questions and bringing the bible to life through a masterpiece that Michelangelo created. It was a breathtaking piece and is one of the greatest pieces of art I have seen. 

The rest of the basilica was equally as beautiful and we just took our time walking around and taking it all in. We went by the bronze statue of Saint Peter. Peyton wanted to stand in the line to touch his foot and while we were waiting was asking questions and soaking up who Peter was, what he did and it was wonderful and a moment that I will forever treasure.

St. Peter's Basilica was probably my favorite thing we saw during our time in Rome. Not only was it was beautiful but the moments I shared with Peyton and what I pray is a continued curiosity and amazement at who Jesus was and the hope we have in his death and resurrection.

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