[singlepic id=43 w=350 h=350 float=left]Ok, boys and girls, today we are going to play a very fun game! Were you confused by the long title? It’s understandable, but there is an exciting way to figure out what it all means! If you only write down the first letter of each word, you will have spelled a whole new word! What is the word everybody? Come on, all at once! VATICAN. And that brings us to todays story. Once upon a time…
For those of you who didn’t notice by now, I am a teenage girl. I have been for a while now and this means I have developed a certain way of dress. I am a teenager girl; therefore I dress like a teenage girl. When you tell a teenage girl to dress very conservatively because she’s going to spend all day at the Supreme Head of the Catholic Church, she tends to get lost.
No jeans, no shorts, no skirts, no dresses and my beautiful shoulders have to be covered. I might as well wrap myself in a blanket and put on some earrings and go. We walked towards the Vatican in our most appropriate attire and waited for our tour to begin.
We booked our tour on Viatour.com and got a splendid, well-educated and humorous tour guide who managed to explain the lengthy history of the ancient city in the most fascinating and simple-to-understand way and this is coming from a girl who usually spends history class drawing smiley faces on her arm. He led us through the entire Musei Vaticani (Vatican Museum) explaining the history of the city and the fact that the Vatican has been the residence of the popes since 1377. He pointed out the brilliance in the paintings and art work and the brilliant architecture of the rooms.
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Towards the end of the tour, we made our way to the Sistine Chapel, which was built by Giovanni de’ Dolci (if you take a tour of the chapel, you can impress your tour guide by knowing the builders name!). The walls on the sides that face each other each tell a story. On one wall, there is the story of the Old Testament, while on the other wall, there is the story of the New Testament (my type of story: all pictures, no words). The ceiling, on the other hand, was a lot more difficult to create than you may think. When I was in 6thgrade, my social studies teacher made us crawl under our desks and draw a picture while we were looking up. My neck and hand cramping, I managed to draw a pathetic picture of a horse (looked more like a dragon). Michelangelo spent three years painting stories on the ceiling, including scenes of Noah’s Sacrifice and Prophets and Sybils (sure his paintings were a little better than my 6th grade drawing, but he had three years to work on his…I had three minutes). The Last Judgement that Michelangelo painted on the wall behind the main alter stole the show. It was beautiful, it was overpowering, and it was emotional to look at. You weren’t allowed to take pictures while in the Sistine Chapel, because the flash of the camera would cause the paint to start peeling (not that it kept people from trying).
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We ended the trip by visiting St. Peter’s Basilica. The best way for me to try to paint an image (get it?) of its size would be to tell you that if you place the statue of liberty into the center of the church, it would fit with ease. Yeah, that big. Made from nothing but the finest marble and gold, the basilica had the most detailed arches and walls (almost as if they were carved out with toothpicks) and a heavenly choir singing by the alter. After an educational, emotional, and exciting day of learning we decided that we deserved a nice dinner. I had one more dress left and I had to show it off.
When we stumbled across a small restaurant on a rather secluded street, who would have thought that it would be the best food I had in Italy? The first sign that it was a real Italian restaurant was that there were only real Italian families out to dinner instead of the tourists with their fanny packs and khaki shorts (I’m not knocking khaki’s, I’m just making an observation). The owner was a caring older man who came out to greet us and welcome us to Rome. The servers were so kind, and brought us a free appetizer of fresh baked bread, soaked in olive oil, covered in a mix of tomatoes and onions (don’t try making it at home, it still won’t turn out as good). We ordered pasta and pizza and calamari galore and ate every last piece, asking for some crème brule and canoles for dessert. The name of the restaurant is “Da Vito E Dina” and the reason that it’s the only restaurant that I’m mentioning in this entire blog, was because it was the best food I had in Italy…and I had A LOT of food in Italy. Now, even though the pizza was good, I wonder what it would be like in Pisa….I guess I will have to find out tomorrow.
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