Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Vatican City

many of the interesting stories which we heard from the tour guide are slowly slipping off my mind..... i am trying to recall as much as i can but as i am about 120 years old now, might have some small problems with that.

we woke up bright and early and made our way to the vatican city by cab. its a lot easier and as its not that far from our hotel, it was the most convenient way of transport for us.
you can choose to go for a group tour but G and i decided to skip the queue by going for a private tour so that we can ask all we want about the mysterious Vatican City.
we reached at around 9.30am and there was already a really long queue which went halfway around the city wall! was told that the queue would take around 2.5hours. 

Vatican City is one of the most mysterious place i think. No doubt it is open to tourists and in 2011,there was a total of 5 million visitors to the city!
its galleries are filled with so much beauties i honestly have problem remembering them all. 

Vatican City is contained behind tall walls and it has its own post office which is considered the most reliable one in Italy as Italy is very well-known for its lost mails and parcels!!!!
it is a city within a city, situated in Rome, which is in Italy and it contains so many art pieces which had been collected by the various popes through the years.
who would have thought that Popes are such avid collectors? but then again, Kings are all like that. (but popes behaving like kings? hmmm 

Me posing with the bronze pine cone which is within a small garden inside the Vatican City.
Pine cones is associated with evergreen and is an important symbol in catholicism.
there is another saying that the pine cone is also associated with the Pineal glands? ( read this from the internet while the evergreen portion was shared by the tour guide )
i prefer the evergreen version as its less complicated.

Cupids behind me.
cupid is the son of Venus and he symbolizes Love and desire.
there were many statues of cupid blindfolded and lying around.
there were also many statues of cupid blindfolded and holding a bow and an arrow, that is why Love is blind.
sooo interesting :)
looking back, love is indeed blind but its all good too because everything always happens for a reason.

as it is, i have already forgotten who this guy is :(

Coffin belonging to small children and it was engraved with musical instruments and angels, things that symbolizes the hopes of his/her family for him/her.

This is the God of good living and because i am a great follower of good living, i have to take a picture with this guy right?????

G is very fond of arts and colorful ceilings.

i don't really like to raise my head all the time. makes me feel a little disoriented and after awhile, they all look the same to me but the workmanship was immaculate.
these paintings have been here for years and years and the reason to why we can still see them today is because they were using a technique which is known as Fresco Painting.
"Fresco" is italian word for "fresh" and what it means was that the painters at that time, painted on wet plaster walls so that the painting will become part of the wall instead of just another layer on the wall.
because they had to work under the plaster conditions and because the paintings are often really huge, the artist had to be really skillful and he had to take note of the time that it takes to dry the walls too.

ceilings again. such beautiful colors and on the walls are tapestries which were collected by 1 of the popes.
Tapestries are like paintings, except that they were done on textiles and looked a little like carpets.
they can be made for the walls or for the floors.
doesn't the tapestries look a little dull compared to the other artwork which we see in the gallery?

 Us with the beautiful ceiling.

There were all these maps on one part of the gallery where maps of Italy are displayed.
it was supposedly to scale.
how amazing is that? how did the people in the past calculate the distance and what tools did they use?
this is a map of Venice. :)

and then, we proceeded to the Sistine chapel which is the official residence of the Pope so the security level there is usually extremely high but as the Pope was away when we went, we could take some pictures.
the guide informed us that usually, picture taking is not allowed within the sistine chapel and while we were there, the security guards who were in black blazer and black ear phones, looking a little like men in black were shushing us tourists who were making too much noise.
actually, we were shushed in many places in the Vatican city but really, you have 5 million visitors in a year, you need to get used to noise and excited visitors!

the beautiful sistine chapel is also where the popes are chosen.
every time after a pope dies, a new one will be chosen and white smoke from the chimney of the sistine chapel will signify that one have been chosen and black smoke will signify that the selection wasn't successful. ( reminds me of that scene in the da vinci code )
the selection is through a voting system by the cardinals.
isn't this an amazing part of tradition which they have been keeping?

Last Judgement , painted by Michelangelo through 4 years.
Michelangelo was in fact, more of a sculptor than a painter but his fresco work turned out to be one of the best.
if you look at the middle of the painting, you would see a man holding a piece of ugly skin and that was supposedly michelangelo putting himself in the painting.
he was supposedly an extremely emotional person who was often seen unhappy and a little eccentric.
it was also said that he was very unhappy about being commissioned to paint this. 

The creation of Adam by Michelangelo. ( unable to rotate the pic :( )
God ( the one in white robes ) giving life to Adam. ( the nude man )
and in this, it also shows that God made man in his image.

 The last supper.

The walls inside the sistine chapel, adorned with paintings. very beautiful :)

The staircase leading to the door where the Pope enters to his residence.
a lot of people gets curious about what went on inside and what it looks like so there were lots of peeping through the little gap where the 2 doors closes.
i wasn't able to see much but it looked a little like the interior of the sistine chapel.

our last stop was saint peter's church where saint Peter was buried.
we also saw some of the late popes whose body was placed inside glass coffins and believers were praying to them.
some popes gain sainthood after they pass away but as for how they were chosen or who determines who gets to be the saints, the guide did not tell me.

beneath the dome which was behind me was where saint peter was buried.

everyone wants a piece of the guards :)

Entrance to Saint Peter's church

Preparation for the weekly audience with the Pope and for Easter too! 

Bye Bye Vatican City! See you next time! 
walking to the shopping streets! i think we walked for 2 hours???


we walked all the way to the Pantheon! now, thats a super long walk.

along the way, we saw a sweet little bakery store and we got some of the best tasting pastries there!
the bakery store was tiny with no air condition, no bright lights and no classy glass display but the tarts and pastries all looked so good on its own. :)
i love the blue-berry tarts the best!

Before we know it, at the end of about 12 days, it was time to go back. end of our amazing honeymoon. 
i miss the place very much now.
So what did i get out of this trip? I learnt that there is nothing more amazing than going to places. I love traveling and how it opens up my mind, i love looking at beautiful buildings, people , flowers and i love the cool breezy weather which is very different from the humidity in Sg.

i love going with the flow everyday, not sticking to schedules. 

If i may add, i love my favorite travel companion the most. without the right person, nothing ever counts.

1 comment:

Miss I said...

NICE pictures~! I did not get to see all these when i went to Europe cos my stay is always too short :(