Wednesday morning I woke up, guzzled some coffee, and walked to the University where I had one class and a final exam. I boogied through the final just in time to hop the metro to the airport for my flight into Rome. Three and a half hours of airplane and shuttle-bus and we were checked into our hotel and ready for an authentic Italian meal. We found this tiny pizzeria a short stroll from our hotel where we all had a quick pizza before we retired for the night after a long day of travel and test taking. At the pizzeria the waiter was very friendly and nice to us and they didn’t let us leave without having an Italian ice on the house.
Thursday our plan was to tour the Colleseum as well as Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum, but we were held back by rain (the worst we have seen since in Europe). We were only able to see the Colleseum and rescheduled our Palatine and Forum tour for the next day. We were sick of the rain getting in the way of our trips so a bunch of us split to enjoy the day in Rome anyways. We trudged through shoe covering puddles as we made an effort to see as much as we could. We knew that the next day was going to be busy because besides our visit to the Vatican City we were going to be visiting the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill as well.
We rose early on Friday so that we could get a jumpstart on our very busy day. Our first agenda item was to get to the Vatican for our scheduled tour. We were lucky and got to skip the line to get into the city and were blessed with a wonderful tour guide. As a group we have become generally skeptical of tour guides so this was a pleasant surprise. We moved through the museums and were impressed by the works of Salvador Dali, Raphael, and, of course, Michelangelo. We moved through in awe as we anticipated our last stop, the Sistine Chapel. With the exception of the works in the Sistine Chapel I was most attracted to Raphael’s “Scuola di Atene,” or “School of Athens.”
This very abbreviated tour of the Vatican which can take up to seven years to completely see (a fact from our tour guide) took a few hours as it led up to the Sistine Chapel. After finally arriving in the chapel I was awestruck. The grandeur and detail in the frescoes were breathtaking, even more so than I expected. Being inside seamed surreal as if it wasn’t actually happening. The pieces were so bright and brilliant radiating the beauty, which they are so famous for possessing. Being inside made me think about the numerous years of labor that Michelangelo dedicated to this work. Seeing this with my own eyes heightened my appreciation for this place to a level that is indescribable. My favorite part of the Sistine Chapel is undeniably the Last Judgment.
After the Sistine Chapel we walked around St. Peter’s Basilica before heading to the forum and Palatine Hill. At Palatine Hill we were not lucky enough to get a good tour guide, and though these were very cool attractions they weren’t as special as the other things that we had already seen, or were about to see (Pompeii). From Palatine Hill, though, I can say that I got a beautiful view of part of Rome and was ale to more fully understand the story of Romulus and Remus.
Saturday we were headed to Naples so that we could get to nearby Pompeii which I will leave for someone else to talk about.