Chapter four of this has been something akin to my first post on here. I’ve started it for the third time now, having lost the draft I had written on my iPhone as we chilled in Piazzo Nivona. I guess God didn’t like what I had to say about the Sistine Chapel, but tough I’m going to say it anyway!

Something I haven’t done yet is post a photo of my favourite place from the trip so far, although I think I will be hard pushed to find a place I liked more: The Trevi Fountain.

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The Trevi Fountain is built into the back of a Palazzo, although I don’t know which one, and marks the end of the Aqua Vergine Aquaduct. Transporting a stream discovered by a virgin (nothing the Romans loved more) into Rome. Tradition is that tossing money over your shoulder into the water will guarantee your return to Rome, although judging back the number of people there last night versus the number of coins littering the bottom, someone out there is living very comfortably from said legend.

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Standard turnout…

Not to be bitter about it of course, and keen to take part, Hannah and I both threw a euro or two in. I doubt that it’s necessary for me to throw money in the fountain to guarantee my return to Rome however.

The main purpose of yesterday was to visit the Vatican City, as Hannah had also never been inside the museum, and also to take a gander round the Sistine Chapel. Our tour guide from the Paletine Hill on Friday, Colin, was to be running a three hour tour around the museum yesterday, and brought it to our attention on Friday. So we boarded the metro after a coffee, being accosted by someone petitioning against ‘hard drugs’ (of which, she told us, she was once a ‘victim’ of) and a sun bathe session at the fountain in Piazzo del Republica.

This photo was actually taken today, as we couldn’t find someone nice enough to take one yesterday…

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We got to Ottavianno, and met Colin, who took us to the guides office and issued us with radio headsets so we could hear him as we made our way round. Really all it did was meant that any gypsy, pickpocketing Nuns we encountered could be made obvious to other members of our party, commando style! (don’t think I will ever be allowed to live down being adamant the Nun next to Hannah on the train to Rome was after our stuff…)

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The Vatican Museum itself has over 1000 rooms filled with art, part of the reason we were glad to be there with Colin. He informed us that viewing each piece would result in a stint of around 20 years. After so many religious paintings however, they all begin to look the same. I took a few pictures of some of the more impressive ones there, but didn’t really feel that being there was a good enough reason to view it through the lens of a camera. There are a few examples below anyway.

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A large bowl…

And a final example:
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This is the only remaining Roman statue to feature the original glass eyes, as most were smashed in during a riot a few hundred years ago. The photo didn’t turn out as I wanted it to, however I still think it emphasises how creepy looking this piece was. If it was me, I’d have left things the way they are now, as there is something demonic about this!

We learned a fair amount about Raphael and Michaelangelo yesterday, including how Michaelangelo spired the Pope when designing the dome atop St Peters Basilica 1M smaller than that above the Pantheon, a temple dedicated to the Pagan gods. Fortunately for him, the pope at the time didn’t find out till after he died, not that he would have survived long afterwards I imagine.

The Sistine Chapel formed the end of the tour, and unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take photos of the inside. This was something to do with the Japanese company that owns the rights to any prints of the ceiling inside. we weren’t allowed to speak either, so naturally there was a rabble inside.

Difficult to say what my overall impression of the Chapel really was. The entire place was painted by Michaelangelo, single handedly, and the detail is fantastic. There isn’t a plain piece of plaster anywhere inside it. However, in comparison to other religious buildings we’ve been inside, the architecture of it was a bit of a let down. I wouldn’t be too far wrong to describe the inside of the place as a shoe box. (Writing this probably means I’m going to be smitten in my sleep tonight, or perhaps hit by a bus on my way home from dinner)

In comparison St Peters was again, stunning. We weren’t entirely sure if we would get inside or not, as nothing had been mentioned. However, we found ourselves standing underneath the Popes balcony as we followed the signs for the exit:

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Again, heaps to take in, and it was impossible to get photos of everything. The arch above the altar is maxed of bronze, and originally formed a statue of Emperor Nero. It was discovered in the ruins of his palace on the Paletine hill and re-melded.

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The dome is above this, and truly breathtaking. Doesn’t really seem all that significant that a metre of it was deliberately left off, but I suppose when one has to admit they were taken for a fool by an artist, it would leave a very bitter aftertaste. Especially when one is the pope…

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From there, we made our way outside and took a few snaps from the Square, feeling we had experienced enough religion for one day. An amusing text from my Mum not long after, leaving us in stitches as my Grandma (who was present at my Christening I would assume) had asked her if I was a Catholic when she heard where we had been.

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We embarked on what was to be our longest walk this trip, right across Rome back to the hotel, with a few sights to see picked out by Hannah. This included: Castel Sant’ Angelo and Piazza del Popolo.

By the time we got back to the hotel, we were both completely wrecked, having now been both intellectually and physically beaten! Something we still haven’t quite recovered from yet.

Gonna get off now to get ready for dinner. Will blog about today’s activities later, I assure you tie I’ll be a much shorter entry than today’s!

Lewis
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