We Meet Michelangelo

We walk along the muddy Tiber River toward Vatican City. Destination: Vatican Museum. On this cool but sunny day, we’re excited to see the Sistene Chapel and all the other art that the Vatican has collected over the centuries.


First view of the entrance to St. Peter’s Piazza.

Long before we reach the entrance to the museum, we see people standing in line.

Las Chicas don’t do lines. Especially with online tickets in our pockets! Around the corner and up the hill, and one kilometer later, we swoop past the front of the 500 or so people in line and into the museum. Ok, so we were actually relegated to going behind a British school group.

We choose the spiral ramp, thinking it is the famous one, but it is not. Our first art is on the ramp: a Hawaiian outrigger canoe. Not quite the Renaissance art we expected.  Those Catholic missionaries were everywhere!

After picking up an audio guide, we walk up more stairs and through assorted rooms of art–Greek, Roman, Etruscan.




Etruscan drinking vessel with ram’s head design.


Etruscan bronze statue.

The “animal room” seems promising but turned out to be more violent than expected. Animals ripping each other apart, etc.


A tamer animal statue, bird eats snake.

We enjoyed the mosaics on the floor:


Overwhelmed by so much statuary, we head outside to a lovely courtyard. Las Chicas love the sun. We relax on a bench and watch tourists take pictures of  pigeons and seagulls, and we take a few pictures ourselves:


Vatican courtyard.

Back into the museum, the Escher like staircases confound us. Eventually we get back in the right current of the river of people and enjoy the map room. Mary would like to spend all day here studying the Latin words for all the Italian rivers, towns, mountains portrayed.


Corsica in the map room. It is now France, but then it was Italy.

But we carry on to the Raphael rooms, with tricky painting on the walls that looks like sculpture but is not, and colorful ceiling murals.

IMG_0041_2 IMG_0037_2

The Sistine Chapel is next. We dutifully listen to podcast on Lisa’s phone to understand the many wall panels, and most famous ceiling panel of God bringing life to Adam. There is lots of shushing from the priest and tourists from many lands–some whispering, some gazing in awe, all developing cricks in their necks.

No photos allowed in the Chapel, so here is a photo of part of the ceiling from wikipedia:


We exit the Vatican Museum using the famous spiral  staircase that does not have outrigger canoes like the entry ramp:


After lounging around in the sun St. Peter’s Piazza with its fountains and plastic chairs set up for the next event, we walked back along the Tiber to Trastevere.


Mary and chairs of St. Peter’s Piazza.


Lisa and fountain in St. Peter’s Piazza.

Bridges and mystery statues begged to be photographed:




Disappearing bike path along the Tiber River, no riparian cycle jaunts in the winter!

We dined at a restaurant recommended by friends who had lived in Napoli. Best gnocchi ever. And lovely wine and all zero kilometer of course.

For more photos of our day at the Vatican, click here:


© 2014 by Lisa Howells and Mary Reynolds. All rights reserved.



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