Here’s a couple of shots of some sculptures in the museums and grounds of the Vatican. This one to start was pilfered from Egypt. Theft is kind of a theme with Vatican art – that or spending church money on it. See also the obelisk in St. Peter’s Square – not native to Italy, that’s for sure!
But still, the kitty is cute.
Now on to Grecian and Greek-inspired art.
And here’s Hermes, a.k.a. Mercury for the Romans.
Vatican Sculpture IV
This one’s an odd piece of a piece, but I liked it. Next, some items from the pre-Roman, Etruscan era.
This is a casket, but I particularly like the dog at the base of it. For being so-called primitive artists, it’s amazing how lifelike this is!
And this is the side of a piece of pottery. Not too fancy, but I liked the lion.
Next time, paintings from the Vatican, a.k.a. the more famous stuff. Plus an explainer on why photos are a mega-size no-no in the Sistine Chapel.
Welcome to the heart of Ancient Rome, the Forum. Couple thousand years back, you’d have seen a bunch of dudes in togas milling about, buying and selling, arguing about politics and religion, and so on.
Yeah, so not much changes, except thankfully for better hygiene. Not sure whether I’m glad or not that Emperor Vespasian introducing pay-only public toilets (still referred to locally as Vespasiana).
Here’s a view in infrared from the entrance from nearer the south end, looking northward. The remains of the Temple of Vesta are on the left, and the Temple of Caesar on the right.
And here’s another of the Temple of Caesar, from the front.
This is actually outside the forum. Looking toward the middle, you’ll see a smaller arch (the Arch of Titus, wherein is depicted the sack of Jerusalem in the 1st century). That’s the southern end of the forum. The larger arch in the foreground is the more famous Arch of Constantine, and the photos taken from the 3rd level of the colosseum.
And some ground level color, from within the forum proper.
And finally, this is from the top of Palatine Hill (behind the Temple of Vesta), where the likes of Augustus lived. Not a bad view from pup here, huh?
Side note, I was expecting much gnarlier hills in Rome. Guess that’s what seeing San Francisco as a child gets me. Palatine’s nothing next to Taylor Street!
As promised, the next edition of crowds – St. Peter’s and Sistine Chapel version.
If anything these are even more crowded than the rest of the Vatican, and for good reason. Everyone and their brother has heard of Michelangelo’s ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and wants to see it for themselves. But to be honest, after all the buildup, it’s a bit of a disappointment because (1) yeah, it’s freakin’ crowded, (2) it’s at the end of a long tour and I was bushed already, and (3) no photos allowed, and they mean it. Mainly because the Fuji film company paid for a bunch of the restoration and owns the photographic rights for a long time. Very nice place, though, I’d love to go back when my mind is fresh and I have binoculars to better pick out the detail (it’s a high ceiling).
So on to St. Peter’s! It doesn’t’ seem as crowded, mainly because it’s gigantic in every dimension. You could easily fit the population of a small town in there and not feel crowded.
Word of warning though – it is free to go to (it’s a church after all), so it’s a big draw for pickpockets looking for sucker tourists. Mind yourself and your gear in that crowd!
To get good shots you’ll have to be patient, and work your way to the front of the line to see the impressive stuff. Or have long arms and steady hands. Or if you have REALLY well trained children who know how to follow directions, put ’em on your shoulders and have them shoot it.
Here’s the original of Micelangelo’s Pieta, that I showed a reproduction of last post, now behind glass ‘cuz some nutso took a hammer to Jesus’ hand a few years back and knocked off some fingers. Stupid asshat. Pretty sure that’s a few extra years in Purgatory right there.
This place will take a lot of time to work your way through, especially if you want a good photo or two that doesn’t come from the gift shop or a tourist stand in the city. It’s worth the wait, though, and this is one of the few places you CAN stop and think and reshoot as needed, without issue.
PS for your extra little bit of Italy … when eating lunch afterward, we asked for water and were kindly reminded by our waitress – “water is for shower, drink wine!”