Italy, Rome – Day 1 – The Vatican and Trastevere (and Gelato flavour of the day)

Well no prizes for guessing where I have landed – my first ever trip to Rome but as everyone I know has been before I have been given loads of recommendations of things to do and places to eat. 

Day 1 was a crack of dawn walking tour of the Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel and St Peters Basilica followed by a leisurely afternoon exploring the Trastevere area and the lovely little church of St Cecilia. The collections of statuary, tapestries, frescos and paintings are outstanding – I think you could spend days visiting this place and never see the same thing twice – but you have to be ok with crowds – even at 7.30am.

Gelato flavour of the day was TIRAMISU – will aim never to repeat a flavour!

First up – the externals of the Vatican, the delightfully decked out Swiss Guard (oldest army in the world) and the Borgo. The collections of statuary, tapestries, frescos and paintings are outstanding – I think you could spend days visiting this place and never see the same thing twice – but you have to be ok with crowds – even at 7.30am and with a bit of rain.

Both Gods and mortals make good models for statues. 

Statues of Gods were big in Ancient Rome

These are painting are by Raphael. What is interesting is that he put quite a few of his friends (and rivals) into the fresco. So the guy on the left of the cut out is his mate Leonardo Da Vince and the guy at the front with the compass is his rival Michelangelo – he was made to add him in my the pope and that is why he is wearing his boots – something he is supposed to have done but ws looked down on by others. Nowadays those boots would be very trendy.

Raphael paints his mates and some of his rivals too


The Sistine Chapel does give you a crick in your neck especially as you try to disguise photo taking but note in the photo below that everything is painted flat so the illusion of dimension is just that – an illusion. Brilliant. And Michelangelo did this when he was in his 30’s – and I expect he needed a chiropractor for the rest of his life!

There are so many things to see at the Vatican it is hard to pick and choose but the photos below show a relief in a door of Peter being crucified upside down, the interior of the magnificent free standing dome and a statue of Peter (his remains are buried under the Basilica) 

Sistine Chapel, St Peter’s Dome and St Peter depictions

 
After all that sumptuousness it was nice to wander around Trastevere – which is a kind of bohemian area and not at all full of hordes of people.


And here is St Cecilia’s Church (Cecilia  had all sorts of horrible things happen to her before she was martyred but when her body was exhumed many centuries later it was untouched and hence the marble statue reflecting how she appeared when exhumed – allegedly). All the other pics are things that are under the church. Quite a surprise and quite spectacular.

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