Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Political Science in Naples, Italy: Rome - The Vatican

This past weekend, a small group of us visited Rome. Let me tell you, it was incredible! I’ve explained to a few people that Rome is very nice (and surprisingly clean), but there are so many tourists everywhere! This week, we decided to be some of those tourists. After all, it’s Rome!

Barbara, Michael, Robbie, Chris, Todd, and I took a train on Saturday from Naples to Rome. It takes about an hour, but we got to see some beautiful countryside on the way there. So many small towns hidden in the hills and mountains. Gorgeous!

Confession: we were all more excited about the fact that our hotel had hot showers, wifi, and air conditioning than anything else. Plus, it had a great view of a quaint neighborhood outside of the “touristy” part of the city.

Our Saturday began by visiting the Vatican. We paid for a tour guide, so we could skip the line. The tour was terrible (the group was way too big), but it was worth the money just to bypass the lines. We entered on the museum side, so we had to go through security and a large gate. It was almost like going through airport security and customs. The Holy Sea is its own country after all. 
After we finally got in, we could had an amazing view of the back part of the city, including St. Peter’s basilica. It’s a huge dome, so you really can’t miss it.
We entered the museum courtyard, and I was a little confused about what everything was. This confusion lasted about an hour. Specifically, they kept talking about the Sistine Chapel there. Beforehand, I didn’t know that the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s basilica were actually in the Vatican. When we got inside, everything finally made sense.

The museum was incredible! So many pieces of art, that I became immune to it after a while. Almost. These were a few of my favorite pieces.
All of this and more was leading up to the Sistine Chapel. It is all so breathtaking that I was beginning to wonder if the chapel would even compare to all this art or if I would feel underwhelmed because of everything I had just seen. I was wrong. After viewing incredible ceilings and statues, we entered a plain white hallway that was very small. (I should mention that we among thousands of people shoulder to shoulder this entire time). This hallway turned into stairs, then after a few turns, we were there. The Sistine Chapel.
Our first inclination was to take pictures, but there were security guards there to make sure women covered their bare shoulders (a dress code); people don’t talk, and most important, that we didn’t take pictures. I broke the last rule. I got two or three pictures in before security stopped me. But, the first had to be the most amazing.
I remember studying about Michaelangelo in my fifth grade literature class. Our teacher taped a piece of paper under each of our desks, had us choose a scene, and we had to draw upside-down like Michaelangelo. It was very difficult and so much fun. Looking at this ceiling, all I could think about was the hard work that went into this piece of art. And, this was his first attempt at painting! We could see every little detail. I actually enjoyed the fact that it was silent; it made the moment feel more astounding. By far, the Sistine Chapel was my favorite part of Rome. 5 stars!

- Emily Harmon

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