From the Warrior Empire to the Warrior Pope
We got up early, ate a nice breakfast, hopped on our first Roman subway car to meet our tour guide just outside the Vatican. At the beginning of the tour, we might have been daunted by the long line of tourists already waiting outside the Vatican, but we knew better by now. Trina and our local guide had reservations already setup, so we skipped passed the large crowds and made our way into the Vatican.
Here we saw the seat of the Catholic church and our guide pointed out the humble lodgings that the current pope has chosen over the more elaborate traditional papal apartments. We walked through the halls, passing some of the most incredible works of art from the height of the renaissance, from likes of Raphael to Michelangelo. Painting we had only seen in books really came to life for us. Michelangelo’s work on the Sistine Chapel was so realistic in its forms and depth that Shannon at one point mistook one of the figures for a sculpture. We found it simply incredible how a man forced to paint a ceiling against his will - since he preferred the art of sculpting - could still be so brilliant in what he produced. We made our way silently out of the Sistine chapel, which is quite a feat given the density of the crowds filling the chapel. A friendly Italian voice would remind us every minute to be quiet, and keep moving “Shhh… silenzio… silence…”.
St. Peter’s Basillica
The gilded main chapel was also a sight to see, from Michelangelo’s pieta to the mosaics adorning the walls and ceiling we were in awe. None of us had ever seen mosaics quite like these, in fact we all believed them to be paintings until our guide made us stop and look more closely at the images on the wall, being sure to emphasize images and not paintings. We were shocked to realize they were all made of a complex and intricate pattern of mosaics.
Free Time and Last Supper
This was our last time to enjoy being on our own, so we made the most of it. Naturally this included getting a last bite of gelato or two as we made our way to the spanish steps. Here we spent the late afternoon people watching and exploring, recollecting all of the fun times we have had on our trip. The last supper was a bittersweet time as it was the last occasion we would have together as a group before our journeys back home. We enjoyed laughs and stories with our friends as we discussed our next travel plans and coming back to Italy someday, and getting back to our regular lives. We exchanged contact information and said our goodbyes. Thank you all for sharing our honeymoon with us. :)