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Mick is good

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Did I already say that Mick is good?
Mick is good  - Basilica Papale di San Pietro

Mick is good - Basilica Papale di San Pietro

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Embarrassingly you tend to get blasé in the lead up to the Cappella Sistina (that’s the Sistine Chapel for the Anglophiles), as the tour leads you through a very long path of Roman sculptures and 16th century masters. Each doorway comes with the expectation that this THE chapel, only to discover that it’s not (yet). Most of the lead up rooms have gilt edge frescos all over the ceiling, the Roman sculptures were impressive (albeit missing a limb or two), I liked the tapestries and the map corridor was great.

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There are three rooms where Raphael covered all the walls and ceiling with the big scenes from the bible, which in any other town would be famous. There is room after room of Italian masters, so that by the time you get to the contemporary art (a few Salvador Dali, couple of Matisse), I felt cultured out.

But the hordes come for one room only, so they jam ‘em in. Don’t get me wrong, the Sistine Chapel is magnificent. But it’s hard to appreciate such grandeur when crowded in with literally a thousand others, all of them rubber-necking up at that stupidly high ceiling. Roma justifiably gets a lot of visitors, but they ALL visit the Vatican, mainly to see THAT ceiling. But I will say the famous guys do stand out - the detail, the captured expressions, really do justify the fame of the Donatello’s, the Caravaggio’s and Raphael (disappointingly have seen very little Leonardo da Vinci), but for me Michelangelo was the best (but no photos so this is one of the Raphael's).large_DSC_4596.JPG

Started the day having my credit card gobbled by the ATM – trap for young players rule one – press the English button, else you won’t realise that you only have 30 seconds to take your card and no it’s not just working … very… slowly. And it’s impossible to explain to the quite blunt non-English speaking staff at the nearby Banko San Paolo that the ATM swallowed my card – they just shrugged and advised the ‘your card gone’.

So, frustrated we left (late) for the Vatican. Got hassled by touts (trap for young players rule 2 – those nice ‘staff’ don’t work for Papa Francesco, but do want to fleece you to ‘jump the line’), and joined the queue for St Peter’s basilica. Though the line was about 200m long, it moved quickly so took only half hour through security – a standard Monday morning catching the 6:35 to Melbourne – before we were ascending the (491) steps to the top of the dome.
The queue outside the Basilica Papale di San Pietro

The queue outside the Basilica Papale di San Pietro


The queue was just too long for the Duomo in Firenze, so glad we did it here because the view was great, both of the inside of the dome up close, as well as over st Peter square.
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Then onto the basilica itself, which for me was more beautiful than the Cappella Sistine. The sheer size, the fresco covered (even higher) ceiling, the multiple renaissance frescos that adorn each (of about 20) knaves, the carvings, sculpture and marble make it a truly beautiful place, that reflects its status as the home of the world’s biggest Christian community. Even the dead bloke’s tombs were impressive in the pope’s catacombs, dating back to the 1200s.
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Knackered, we took the (busy – Roma is so much bigger than Firenze) Metro back for an afternoon kip before dinner. I love pasta (as Mario in Croatia said – ‘The Italians even have pasta with their pasta they love it so much”), but after 8 days straight we decided on Chinese, which was the best value yet.
Piazza San Pietro

Piazza San Pietro

A fresco St Peters style

A fresco St Peters style


Tourist tips: don’t get sucked in by the touts, the queues weren’t that bad (for us anyway and there was basically no queue for the Vatican museum).
Salute: 660 ml Peroni for only 5 Euro at the shady Chinese restaurant.
Quote of the day: ‘The queue for the basilica will be 2 hours and then 2 hours for the Vatican museum’ …. ‘I’m just here to help, I don’t sell you any tickets’ …. But come this way to pay 50 Euros to skip the line
Walk a mile...: 20, 650 – apparently, there are 14.5km of exhibitions in the Musei Vatican, but we cut it back to 12 for the day.

Posted by scoleman29 17:00 Archived in Italy Tagged rome

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