Thursday, February 22, 2007

Italy News, Part 3: Rome, (day 2)

The morning of the next day was spent in the Vatican's museum. Now, everyone, you know that they don't like you to take pictures in museums. However, I sneaked a few for your edification and enjoyment.

Outside the museum in Vatican square: St. Peter's Cathedral

They were just taking down the Christmas tree (Feb. 2, people!)
The columns of Vatican Square.
Inside the museum, there was a gallery of map tapestries. Very cool.
There were many, many statues. Some with stragetically placed, gravity defying fig leaves...And some without.I know where the Vatican keeps its dead bodies now.And if you thought Japanese was hard to learn...They were really intense about the no-pictures in the Sistine Chapel. But who can resist sneaking a shot when the guard's back was turned?

After the museum, we went to a place where someone had a vision of the Virgin Mary a couple years ago. They built a chapel, complete with a plastic statue of the Lady. I mean the plastic kind that you see outside around Christmas time, but it didn't light up. I did not take pictures of that for you. We also had the wonderful opportunity to buy some of the sand of the sacred place where it happened.

From there we went to one of the oldest churches in Rome. It was very dark and quiet, and in a lovely garden. It was in the very basic main structure of cathedrals: one long hall with two lower buttresses, and a nave at the end. There were no elaborate frescoes or tiled walls; it was built of brick with a few stained windows at the front end. I liked it better than the Baroque wonders.

Light through the windows. (My doubtful skills of a photographer failed in the church and I couldn't get a picture that was more than a dark mass)
From the church we went to another church in the same monestary complex (which is where it was), walking along a lovely tree-lined avenue.

There we observed the place where one of the saints (I forget which one) was beheaded, and his head bounced four times. Where the head touched the ground, fountains sprung up. In the present day, they have mysteriously dried up but are memorialized here where the squares are, in the floor of this church. Because saints are obliging people, even when dead, the head bounced in a handy geometric pattern that looks nice on a cathedral floor.I forget the name of the next cathedral we went to: after a while they all blur together.

The inside of the church.There are pictures of every pope there ever was lining the walls above the columns. The bright spot you see on the right in the picture above is where the present pope is (they have a light shining on it)

Every cathedral had a shop inside as well as outside, but this one was more inventive than this, offering holy chocolate.....and booze.That was the end of the day, but one last shot from the bus window: you know I want one.

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