|Another one of G's brilliant pics|
A city within a city.
Another one of those 'OMG I'm here' moments on this incredible holiday.
Flaminia was our guide again, and if we thought she was good on Tuesday afternoon, she was cha-mazing yesterday. Here's the link again to her tour company. If you're in Rome you should look them up before you go and prebook tours.
We met on the 'white marble steps, near the main entrance' just before 9.30am and promptly entered The Vatican as she had already purchased our tickets. I can't stress enough how important it is to have pre-purchased tickets to ANYTHING in Rome over summer. You simply can't believe the crowds (and it's only June) and the heat.
Once inside, Flaminia started her tour, so much information to share, so much to take in but we were a great team. She was incredibly gracious with her time and attention to MissM and at times, allowing G and I time alone to drink in our surroundings while she and MissM went off into another area and did their thing.
She took us into the Vatican Museum where we saw gifts received by the Pope's from various countries on display. There was a large display from Indonesia, and some very interesting pieces from Australia. This area is fairly new, and not often visited by tourists - if you go, check it out. It's air conditioned, quiet and very interesting.
Next, we went to the area where all the carriages and cars that have transported the Pope over the centuries. Again, not a place often visited by tourists and one that we found interesting. There is a video playing and an explanation of why the Pope Mobile had to be covered with bullet proof glass. MissM was pretty upset by this and Flaminia handled it very well indeed, explaining Pope Francis, has such faith in humanity that he is using the original uncovered car. Think all that did was heighten MissM's concerns for his safety.
We learned that every Wednesday morning, at 7.30am Pope Francis meets the people .... you need to secure tickets (which are free) for entry to this very special Mass, but what an experience that would be? Next time you're in Rome, maybe check this out.
We then strolled into the sunshine, and came across a familiar sight - the bronze Sphere within a Sphere which I instantly recognised from a tour we did around Trinity College, Dublin. (You can imagine how clever I felt!)
Flaminia climbed over the chain railing, taking MissM with her and started to explain the significance of the inner world, being the Vatican, being the outer world covering and protecting it. THEN she asked MissM to push with all her might and turn the sculpture to the surprise of G and I, and everyone else looking on at these two people climbing a chain rail AND touching something so valuable.
What an experience for MissM!
Next, oh my goodness ....... next, came several hours of explanation and experiencing the worlds most amazing art gallery full of sculptures, tapestries, mosaics, art works, stucco and more.
There were rooms where we had no idea where to look first - ceilings that went on forever, and with one's neck fully tilted back you STILL had trouble taking it all in.
Flaminia's explanation of the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel will stay with us forever. It allowed us to really SEE the imagery, and understand what Michelangelo wanted represented in a painting he did not want to do.
St Peter's Basillica. Again, where does one look when there is history and beauty everywhere around you? I'm not religious but seeing the Pieta took my breath away. As did the ceiling. And the naves. And the Alter.
As MissM said 'just about everything here is unbelieveable'
The wifi at the hotel is weak so I can't upload any of G's pics, but we have hundreds to remind us of our visit, and a couple of books I bought along the way.
We bought postcards and posted the from The Vatican post office.
We had 5 hours of personal attention; of MissM being engaged (that's worth it's weight in gold), and were able to not only learn about what was around us, but ask questions (something you can't do in an audio).
We've also made a friend.
We caught the Hop On Hop Off bus back to the hotel, and the three of us had to sit down. Our feet were tingling they were so sore from standing and walking in the heat.
Dinner was a mixed event - mine was delicious, there's wasn't.
Hotel for another shower (so friction' hot here), and early to bed.
No alarm set for the morning as we've no commitments for the weekend.
Today, like yesterday and the day before and the day before that will stay with us for al long time.