Vatican Museum


Today I crawled out of bed at the ungodly hour of 7a so I could get my shower and breakfast in before 8a when I was planning to head to the Vatican Museum.  Since leaving the Camino de Santiago, my sleeping patterns are starting to return to “normal” for me, which means late nights and late mornings.  Sometimes this works for me, sometimes it doesn’t.  With the heat, it makes more sense to get up early and head out before it gets too hot.  I just wish my body agreed with that!

Even though the hostel is kind of out of the way from the city center of Rome (located up North near the Stadio Olimpico), it is very close to the Vatican.  There is a bus that runs from just outside the hostel to three blocks from St. Peter’s Basilica and less than that to the Vatican Museum.  I got into line outside the Vatican Museum around 8:30a, and they opened at 9a.  The line was not too long and I made quick friends with a British couple standing in front of me.  I was in the museum by 9:15a and bee-lined it to the Sistine Chapel.

The last time I was in Rome, we didn’t have time to do the Vatican Museum or see the Sistine Chapel, so I made it a priority to do it this trip.  I didn’t realize that the way they have the Vatican Museum set up, you can’t backtrack.  So I blew through a bunch of stuff, thinking I would get back to it, but I was never able to figure out how get to it.  Oh well.  Seeing the Sistine Chapel made it all worth it.

I sat in the Sistine Chapel for a good twenty minutes looking at my guidebook which explained a lot of it in detail, and then looking a the paintings.  It really is quite amazing.  I have a confession to make, though.  It took me a while to find the famous fingers of Adam and Moses.  It wasn’t where I thought it would be in the grand scheme of everything!

It was also good for people watching, especially all the people trying to sneak pictures when there were signs ALL OVER the place indicating that photography of ANY kind was prohibited.  There was one security guy who would yell “No pictures!“ and snap his fingers at people.  If they still took a picture, he would go over, take the camera and delete the photos before sending them on their way.  It was hilarious and frightening all that the same time, so I respected the signs and did not take any pictures so I avoided the wrath of Mr. Security Guard.

I spent the next four hours wandering around as many of the exhibits as I could see.  There were some pretty amazing pieces of work.  I especially liked Raphael’s “Transfiguration” piece.  I felt privileged to have seen it up close.

I felt a little overwhelmed at all of the cool things to see at the Vatican Museum, so I decided I had seen enough for this trip.  I saw signs for an exhibit on the Camino de Santiago yesterday, so I went over to the entrance only to find it was closed on Wednesdays because of the Papal Audience.  I added it to my itinerary for tomorrow, which includes St. Peter’s Basilica and the Cupola.

I went back to the hostel to relax for the evening and get to bed early for another early morning start tomorrow.