Day 14: Roma!

Today was the first day that Emma and I have been able to sleep in. We got up and 9-9.30am to the sound of the rain outside and made our way to breakfast. It was an amazing breakfast of savoury and sweet things. I stuffed myself with bocconcini and fresh fruit. 

We decided to go to the Vatican today as it is predominantly indoors and it was still raining. We walked around to the entrance passed St. Peter's and all the weird people selling ponchos and umbrellas. We found the queue to the entrance of the Vatican Museum and it was ridiculously long. People were harassing us about buying dodgy ‘skip the line’ tickets so we left and went back to the information desk near St. Peter's. For €48 we had an English guided tour, skipping the queues through the Vatican museum, Sistine Chapel and had entry into St. Peter's basilica. 

We were told that back in Ancient Rome, the only way emperors were able to reclaim land was to burn it. In 54 AD, Nero (an emperor) wanted a specific hill to build a golden house on. He decided to burn the land but due to wind, it burnt 3/4 of Ancient Rome. It is also said that he was crazy. 

The Vatican museum was beautiful. It was full of marble statues, some of which dated back to the 1st century AD.

One section of the roof has the first ever documented ‘optical illusion’. The paintings on the roof appear to be carved when in actual fact, they're not.

After this section, we made our way into the Sistene Chapel. No photos, videos or speaking were allowed. No hats were allowed and shoulders and knees had to be covered. In 1473 the chapel was built. The original roof was blue with gold stars. After the Pope died, the new Pope employed Michelangelo to paint the roof. It took Michelangelo 4 years to paint whilst laying on his back and holding a candle. After painting the roof, it was said that he was never the same. In letters that he wrote to his mother, he stated that he never wanted to ‘eat or sleep’. 20+ years later, he was employed to paint the Last Judgement on the far wall and it took him 6 years to complete. Back in the 16th century, painters weren't allowed to sign their work once completed. Michelangelo painted a self portrait within the Last Judgement. Along the left side of the chapel, the panels show the Old Testament and along the right side, it shows the New Testament. 

After the Sistene Chapel, we made our way to St. Peter's basilica. The worlds largest basilica that houses many tombs of previous Popes. It was built over 500 years ago and took 167 years to build. I can understand why it took so long to build as it is huge! 

We saw Michelangelo's first sculpture. He made it before he was 28. It shows the Virgin Mary with Jesus across her lap. 

We also saw the tomb of John Paul II 

When we left, it obviously hadn't stopped raining. A lot of the roads had torrents of water running along them. My shoes were wrecked!! My waterproof jacket couldn't cope and ended up wet. My pants were wet too. At the hotel, I inquired about our bags…. They still hadn't arrived. I got the receptionist to contact the airport. He informed me that the bags were in Rome but wouldn't be at the hotel until late.