On this Saturday, I went to visit the Vatican City with my group.
The flag of the Vatican City.
The Vatican City is a land-locked, sovereign country; it is the smallest country in the world, spanning a mere 0.2 square miles.
(Unfortunately, I forgot to slot my memory card back into my camera this morning, so I couldn’t take any pictures. Honestly, it was a bit of relief to take a step out from behind the lens. I think photographers need to be wary of living life documenting events and instances in time — there are moments you can’t capture with a camera.)
I got to see the Sistine Chapel, which was cool — it’s just difficult to comprehend the fact that the frescos were painted by Michelangelo. Michelangelo was known for his bad temper, and in fact his nose was broken at least once due to all the fist-fights he got himself into. He was nicknamed “la Terribilità,” or “The Terrible One.”
That back wall depicts The Last Judgement, painted by Michelangelo (between 1536-1541). All of the figures in The Last Judgement were originally painted nude. Biagio da Cesena, the Pope’s master of ceremonies (basically his right-hand man) was quite opposed to all of the nudity and insisted on the figures being clothed (loincloths were painted on years later after Michelangelo’s death).
Michelangelo didn’t appreciate being hounded and told what to do, so in response Michelangelo painted his depiction of Minos, the mythological king of Hell, in the likeness of Biagio da Cesena. Minos has large donkey ears and is wrapped in snakes, one of which is biting him in a sensitive place, if you see what I mean.
To put it in colloquial terms, Biagio da Cesena freaks out, and goes directly to the Pope asking for the portrait to be altered at once.
The Pope (who is very fond of Michelangelo) humorously states that he holds no power over the realms of Hell, and so the portrait remained.
After the Vatican City visit, I walked to the Piazza Navona, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon and Spanish Steps (more on all of these in my next post) along with some staff members from my program. Anyway, I ended up on the metro and stumbled home with a pounding headache that I started developing early in the morning. I slept for a few hours, waking at 9 pm / 21:00.
I decided to take a stroll to the Trevi Fountain a few blocks from my house at 10 pm/22:00.
- Photographers, don’t forget to step out from behind the lens and live in the moment. Step into the action and don’t be afraid of the moments slipping by you. Living life means stepping through time with joy in your heart and
- Vatican City security: you need to go through security and check in any umbrellas that don’t fold up, so don’t bring your large umbrella if you can help it.
- It’s easiest to get into the Vatican City with a tour group — the lines are often a few hours to get in.
- Mail a postcard from the Vatican City! They have their own postal service 🙂
- Take a map with you everywhere.
- Travel around with a buddy if you can help it.