If you read yesterday’s post, you’ll know that the Pantheon was part of yesterday’s tour, but I got so carried away with random photos I decided I’d better do the Pantheon as part of a different day. When you combine it with yesterday, you can see we were covering a LOT of territory in a single day.
Mr. Tattered has been wearing his fitbit, and we’ve been walking up to 18,000 steps a day – 5-8 miles, which is a lot for us! BUT, the extra activity has helped balance out the pasta and vino! So I am WAAAAAAY not complaining. I do love to walk, but I like having a destination (as opposed to walking for the sake of walking!) and we’ve had fabulous destinations.
The Pantheon is a very interesting place. The ONLY reason it survived after the fall of the Roman Empire (and the same is true of most of the surviving antiquities) is that almost immediately, it became a part of a church, and the churches didn’t get sacked the way pagan buildings did.
It was built under the Roman reign of Augustus, and rebuilt by Hadrian in about 126AD. It is supposed to be, now all these years later ,the largest unreinforced dome in the world.
Much of the extensive amount of bronze used in the building was removed by Pope Urban VIII (a member of the Barbarini family) for both armaments and art, which led to a saying in Rome “what the barbarians didn’t sack, the Barbarini’s did!”
But it still an impressive structure!
Then we found the gelato we’d been waiting for…
Which brings us to today and our trip to the Vatican. Oh, my. I have mixed feeling about the wealth of art the Vatican has amassed. On the one hand, were they to sell it, a whole lot of good could be done with the money. But on the other hand, much of Italy’s ancient art was being sold off (or otherwise “secured” by foreign governments) so by being “acquired” by the Vatican, it sorta keeps it in Rome.
The Vatican Museums are totally overwhelming. There is so much crammed into one place that there is no way to see it all. I don’t remember the exact figure our guide used, but it’s something in the neighborhood of if you spent 30 seconds in front of each piece it would take you 17 years to see it all… Think on that for a moment.
Just as we got there, and I went to take my first picture, I realized I hadn’t put the newly charged battery back in my camera. But, I had my iphone so all was not lost. But it did mean that a lot and I mean A LOT of the 200+ photos I took were blurry. Grrrrr. But I still got a lot of nice pics. No one is going to die because I didn’t take world class photos of the Vatican Museum that I’ll probably never see again in my life…
Anyway. It is what it is. It felt like we pretty much ran through. Lots to see along the way. I’ll share just a few without commentary.
And of course the Sistine chapel has to be seen to be believed. Michelangelo did NOT want to paint it, he’s a sculptor, not a painter, but the Pope pretty much insisted, saying if he didn’t he wouldn’t be doing anything else. Interestingly enough, the person (whose name escapes me at the moment) who told the Pope he HAD to have Michelangelo do it, did so primarily to sink Michelangelo’s career, thinking there was no way he could deliver what the Pope wanted. Ha! Talk about having a plot backfire on you!
But, NO PHOTOS ALLOWED. I’m sure you all know what it looks like.
Once leaving the Sistine Chapel we were shepherded past St. Peter’s Square to St. Peter’s Basilica, and more shock and awe.
It was a mighty impressive collection of art. And I still have mixed feelings about it all.