Continuing on our journey past the Etruscan wing, we eventually came to the long hallway that houses different galleries of sculpture, tapestries, and maps. Here, we were reunited with the hoards so at times it was slow going and easy to lose site of the great artworks amongst the mass of people. Here are a few shots from our walk.
From this long hallway of galleries, we then moved into the Raphael rooms, a series of apartments and rooms painted and decorated by Raphael (artist, not turtle) and his students.
Winding through the end of the Raphael rooms, you finally come to the one chapel that it seems all of Christendom is trying to see. Enter: the Sistine Chapel. Given the hoards that were amongst us during the whole visit through the museums, I was pleasantly surprised to realize that I was not, in fact, squished like a sardine inside the chapel. Sure, there were lots of people, but it was easy to move freely and enjoy the walls and ceilings. It was also markedly cooler in the Sistine, offering welcome respite from the rest of the humid museum. We walked towards the middle of the chapel and stood for a while taking in each of the Old Testament scenes on the ceiling before walking around a bit to pay more attention to the walls. On the front end of the chapel, near the entrance was the scene of the Last Judgment. I believe that wall was my favorite part of the chapel. Michelangelo really managed to capture so much sheer human emotion in that one painting- it’s really is amazing. During our entire visit to the chapel, there were many security guards walking around shushing the crowds and reminding everyone that picture taking is not allowed within the Sistine Chapel.
That said, however…. The Husband is not always the best listener ::ahem:: So… here are a couple of contraband shots of the chapel. **Please don’t tell the Pope on me!!!**
After exiting the Sistine Chapel, we continued on to the Early Christian art wing and then through the Pinacoteca, or painting gallery. We saw some lovely stone work and paintings throughout. Knowing that we needed to wrap it up so we would have time to grab a bite to eat and head over to St. Peter’s, we finished up stopping by and viewing the double-spiral staircase before heading down the cafe for lunch. I grabbed a salad and the Husband got some pizza which wasn’t bad. It was pretty typical museum fare (and pricing), but it was convenient, clean, and quick! After lunch, we exited the museums and started walking towards St. Peter’s. Since our scavi tour of St. Peter’s tomb was beginning soon, we had just enough time to find the gate we needed on the left side of the St. Peter’s square and check with the Swiss guards about where to go.
Stay tuned for the last bit of the day, touring the tomb of St. Peter and the church that was built upon it.