What a place. I ended up going on a guided tour here and it was absolutely money well spent – there was nobody else booked in for the 8.30am English speakers tour so the keen bean that I am got a guide all to myself! It was brilliant. She took me through the Vatican museum and pointed out all the important bits – being one of the largest museums in the world, I would have had no idea where to begin myself. I loved the sculpture of Michaelangelo and Raphael above the main entranceway, and my favourite parts were the Gallery of Maps and the Gallery of Tapestries (dating back to the 1500s) and of course all the famous marble statues and works by Michaelangelo. The museum didn’t just house art, but was a work of art itself – the intricate ceilings, doorways, the tiled floors and staircases, the windows. Just stunning.
It felt surreal to be in the Sistine Chapel, see the ceiling and walls in real life, and stand in the same place as Michaelangelo once did to do the work! The detail was stunning and again my guide came in handy when pointing out all the quirky bits of each painting – like the ones where Michaelangelo had inserted his self portrait on the face of biblical figures or where another artist had come along several years later and painted clothing over some nude figures because the Pope at the time didn’t think it appropriate to have nudes in the chapel. Unfortunately cameras were banned in the chapel so no photos!
St Peters Basilica gave me the chills. Probably one of the most magnificent churches I’ve been in in my life/ on this trip (and I have been in a LOT). I got so excited finally seeing the Pietà, it was breathtaking and I just couldn’t fathom how Michaelangelo did it at 24 years old. It just takes your breath away and my photos do not do justice. I climbed all 500+ steps to the dome which had the most incredible view. The grotto below was also a pretty surreal place with the tombs of past Popes, including St Peter himself. His tomb was BEAUTIFUL (sadly no photos here either) and so intricate and it blew my mind to think how old it was.