17.03.2011 - 19.03.2011 12 °C
Rome with all its glamour in the ancient days is filled with famous ancient ruins and relics. Rome is one of the cities in Europe that does not sleep at night. Rome airport was a very far ride as it took me 75 minutes and €15 to get from the airport to Roma Termini by bus. I arrived at Rome at night and saw the city brightly-lit up. Republicca was well illuminated at night and was vastly without much traffic at night. I took a light stroll down the long stretch of street after Republicca and stopped at a restaurant to enjoy a nice Italian meal before I head down the tunnel towards Trevi Fountain. It was indeed a magnificent sight and the water looks so clear. I was told that you can drink from any fountain or water tap in Rome unless it is stated undrinkable. Trevi fountain was filled with tourists despite the drizzling rain fall.
I only have 2 days in Rome, so I have to rush everything on my itinerary. After seeing Trevi Fountain and Republicca at night which was fantastic, Rome’s morning rush was pretty unpleasant. I have made plans to go to Vatican City in the morning. Without prior research, I did not expect Vatican Museum’s queue would be so long! It stretched around the Vatican City walls towards St. Peter’s Square. It could have easily be 500meters long! I wanted to cut the queue time by getting a private tour in English so I could cut the queue substantially. It worked but I still needed to queue behind every other private tour groups. The Vatican City tour with guide cost me €40. The normal ticket only costs €15 per entry and audio guide costs €7. I strongly recommend the in-house audio guide compared to private tour guide to get the most comprehensive details out of the sophisticated place with its elaborated floor to ceiling paintings, sculptures, ornaments, carvings and décors. The Vatican City grounds are limited in its opening to the public. The Pope only allows the public to have access to the museum, courtyard, St. Peter’s basilica & the Sistine chapel. The globe sculpture at the center of the courtyard is one of the two identical one that was set at The NY Twin Towers at ground Zero. It’s design of globe-in-globe symbolizes the Catholic church embracing the world. This gift was kept in the store and was only taken out for display at the courtyard after the 9-11’s tragedy where the other twin globe was destroyed. The Pope set the globe to commemorate the victims of the 9-11 tragedy. The globe was supposed to have a self spinning mechanism, however on the officiating day, the mechanism broke down and could not be repaired and therefore, many visitors have helped themselves to manually spinning the globe.
The Sistine Chapel stood as an important place for the election of the Pope when the former one dies. 120 selected candidates will be flown in from all over the world to stay in the Sistine Chapel and get ready to vote to be the new Pope. Everyone must write the name of the person that they want to nominate on a piece of paper. Voting will be done twice a day, in the morning and in the evening. If there’s a 2/3 majority vote, the new Pope will be elected. If there’s no consensus of 2/3 majority, they will need to vote again. They are not allowed to leave the Sistine Chapel until a new Pope has been elected. The public will wait outside of the Chapel for a signal. If black smoke comes out of the chimney, it means there’s no consensus. If a new Pope is elected, white smoke will be released as a signal.
The stories behind the statues, sculptures and paintings were very interesting, Michelangelo did the paintings in the Sistine Chapel and the famous ceiling painting is the 7 panels of creation series. Out of the 7 panels, the first panel that he has painted has the smallest details in the painting and was hard to see every detail from the ground. It was because he hated the environment and long hours of work (he was working 18 hours a day) that he tried to paint in such a manner hoping that the Pope would fire him thereafter but instead, the Pope asked him to paint the rest of the panel but requested it to be painted bigger. The condition which he was working was also very bad, the paintings are to be infused into the ceiling to the ceiling was wet with rotten eggs mixture to prevent it drying up before it’s completed. He was working at it for 4 years in such conditions with his head raised up to look at the ceiling when he painted. It severely affected his posture afterwards. Michelangelo love to incorporate his feelings into his works. The painting in which God has His backside shown was actually Michelangelo’s revenge against the Pope for making him work. He had in fact calculated the position at which the Pope would be sitting in the Sistine Chapel and therefore placed God’s backside above it. 24 years later a new Pope loved Michelangelo’s painting and requested that he return to complete an altar piece at the Sistine Chapel. He started working on it with one condition which is a lessen work hours and free time to leave the Sistine Chapel. He took 6 years to complete the altar piece. He initially painted everyone naked which surrounds Jesus and Mary which are in the middle of the painting. This symbolizes Jesus and Mary in heaven and the rest are in hell. The Pope and his right-hand man came to inspect the painting and his right-hand man commented that this kind of painting reflect a bath house or a brothel and not suitable to be in the Sistine Chapel. Michelangelo was furious and added the right-hand man’s at the bottom right painting bound by a snake. This sent off a complaint to the Pope but the Pope did not ask Michelangelo to change it and said he’s only responsible for what’s going on in the heavens. Years later, they hired another painter to clothe all the nakedness.
Other rooms in the Vatican Museum contain tapestry works by Bellini and other artists and maps which was hand painted and measured by traveling from village to village. The collection of 40 maps took 25 years to draw and it has been done more than 400 years ago. Even with the satellite technology that we have now, it shows an 85% accuracy.
I went to the Coliseum at the Colloseo station stop and visited the Coliseum, Palatine Hill and the Roman Forum. It’s €12 for a Combi Ticket. The Coliseum is being restored. The view inside is more spectacular than the outside. The gladiator arena platform was being restored and underneath we could see a labyrinth of walls and rooms that was used to store the props and exotic animals to fight the prisoners. The prisoners earn their freedom by winning the game. People of different class and gender used different gates to enter the coliseum the top of the column were used by middle class women. In all it’s glory, the coliseum could fit 75,000 people.
Next to the Coliseum stood the Arc of Constantine next to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill. The whole area was superbly huge. I had only allowed myself a mere 3 hours there which was not enough to explore the whole area. Palatine Hill has a rich history, among stood the ruins of the vestal virgins temple. There was someone there with a group of students explaining the history and structure of the vestal virgins temple to my benefit, I eavesdropped. He was given a round of applause from the students when he finished his history narration. I wished I had more time to follow the group and just pay with my applause but time was a luxury I couldn’t afford that day.