Fri Apr 27 – Vatican, Sistene Chapel, St. Peters
Left the hotel early to meet our Vatican tour guide – tour began at 0730 in order to be among the first groups allowed in. We were hustled through the three Vatican museums to be among the first through the Sistine Chapel (15 minutes), and it was everything we thought it would be. Michelangelo’s paintings make the flat ceiling look like a vaulted ceiling, and the 9 scenes – from separating light from dark, water from earth, creation of Adam, Eve and the Garden of Eden, etc. – were breathtaking. Exiting the chapel was an adventure through one narrow door. We then returned to the museums for a closer look at each of them. One mural of Christ and 2 apostles at table gazed at us, and when we went another 50 feet past it and looked back at it, Jesus was still gazing at us and the table had shifted to point at us just as it had on the other side. Optical illusion, just like the paintings above which appeared to be on a vaulted ceiling. Next we entered St. Peter Cathedral, the largest church in the world, and it was awesome. The scale is such that the lettering on the walls way up above are actually twice human height, and down the main aisle at multiple points are the names and lengths of major cathedrals around the world, which confirms the fact that this cathedral is enormous. Our tour ended, and we walked around St. Peter’s Square before catching a taxi back to our hotel. We picked up some cheese, bread, crackers, olive oil and basalmic and ate in, then visited our bar & small courtyard where we bought a bottle of Chianti and had some olives, crackers and pistachios, and visited with a couple celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary.