Tuesday, November 29, 2016

The Vatican - part 5 (The Borgia Apartments)

Our last stop before going into the Sistine Chapel (but not the last stop of the tour), were in some quiet rooms with no furnishings.

Our tour guide cleverly found an empty room, sat us all down to explain the meaning of all the paintings we were about to see in the Sistine Chapel, as well as the house rules.

She started by saying "'We are now in the apartment of the Borgia pope" and the next few minutes were a blur.
All I could think was that I was in the rooms of the most infamous pope in history.  

I found this as exciting as the thought of seeing Michelangelo's masterpiece. 

I could almost smell the poison.

I don't remember what she said next as I was trying to surreptitiously take photos of the room without appearing inattentive.

Alexander VI, Pope from 1492 - 1503, was so disliked that his apartments were sealed off by the next Pope (Pius III) after his death.  The new pope refused to live in the same rooms as the detested 'Borgia Pope' and had his own made.

The rooms lay hidden for 300 years, preserving the magnificent frescoes and wall and ceiling decorations.

I tried to imagine what life was like in these rooms,
The daily life, as well as the plotting and dastardly deeds.
In one of these rooms Lucrezia Borgia's second husband, Alfonso of Aragon, was murdered.

I wanted to shout "Meet you in the chapel!" and run and explore the rest of the apartments, but was afraid of losing my husband in the crowd outside, as well as being slightly wary of apparitions offering me drinks spiked with cantarella

So I pulled my wandering mind back to pay attention to the tour guide, and I'm glad I did.
Otherwise I would never have fully appreciated what I saw next.

Unfortunately photography is not allowed in the Sistine chapel, but I do urge you to google it.
The paintings brought me to tears. 

The Borgia Apartments, The Vatican, Rome - July 2015

Thursday, November 24, 2016

The Vatican - Part 4 (Raphael's room)

Imagine having a room like this?
Is it a tad too busy?
Or your cup of tea?
Well this is what happens when one commissions Raphael to paint the bedroom.

I love the illusion of an upper corridor disappearing into the distance.

Actually I think it's meant to represent the throwing down of false idols.

This one was my favourite.
The School Of Athens by Raphael.
It depicted the great philosophers of the ages including Plato, Arisotle, Socrates and Pythagoras.

Raphael was a great admirer of Leonardo da Vinci and Michelangelo and painted them as some of the characters.

The face of Plato is Leonardo.

The face of Heraclitus is Michelangelo.

And Raphael painted himself as Apelles.

To be continued..........

The Vatican, Rome - July 2015

Saturday, November 19, 2016

The Vatican - Part 3

Did you ever wonder why ancient Roman statues have those hollow spooky eyes?

It's because they actually had glass eyeballs in them.

It gives a whole new look to the sculpture.
Suddenly the statues seem to come alive.
(Sorry for the dark photo - no time to adjust my camera)

More beautiful ceilings.

And more crowd shots.

I lot of the walls had amazing tapestries that seemed to change perspective as you walked past.

 And as with everywhere we went, there was some restoration work going on.

 To be continued ..............

The Vatican, Rome - July 2015

Monday, November 14, 2016

The Vatican - part 2

A quiet photo before we plunge into chaos, madness and magnificence.


 As I mentioned in the last post, photography was a challenge due to constant movement of the crowd that we just had to flow along with.
So most of the photos are not of the best quality.

 A Romulus and Remus relief.

The ceilings were amazing.  It's easy to get a sore neck on a Vatican tour.

And the floors are amazing too.

To be continued ...............

The Vatican, Rome - July 2015

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Vatican - part 1

Our last day in Rome involved two big tours.
The first tour was in the morning at The Vatican.

It was arranged by the amazing concierge at our hotel who gave us precise details about where to meet our tour group.

Unfortunately it was the same location that just about every tour company in Rome used to meet their groups.

The ensuing chaos cannot be described.
Suffice to say our guide and ourselves only just found each other in time before we had to leave for the tour.

Our guide was a gorgeous Italian woman who had that secret of looking casual but glamorous and didn't seem to break a sweat despite the 40 degree Celsius heat that had already melted my attempt at looking casually chic. 

She was also rather short in stature and we were worried we would lose her in a crowd that made Versailles look like an abandoned park.

But she was super quick and whizzed us through the entrance and security and into some open spaces where she gave us a very brief (but still highly informative - I just wish I could remember it) history of the Vatican.

She also explained that due to the immense crowds, that photo taking will be difficult, but she will try to find us places for photo opportunities of the more famous artworks.  

The Vatican is it's own state with it own postal service and radio and television stations.
 The crowds don't look too bad here..........

Oh, wait.............

 Photos from this point were of the holding-camera-above-head-and-clicking-as-I-go variety.

To be continued...........

 The Vatican, Rome - July 2015

Friday, November 4, 2016

Resplendently remarkable ramshackle Roman things.

So far we've covered a bit of Renaissance Rome, Mid-Classical Rome and Retro Rome.
How about some ancient Rome?
Or to try to keep with my R alliteration, Really Ruined Reign Rome.
Or perhaps Roman era Rome?

Hmmm ok - here are some pictures of absurdly old things.  

One of our wanderings took us around the Roman Forum,  We didn't pay to go in and wander (I think I need another word for walking - "wander" has been a bit overused.  Amble?  Ok Amble) err amble about these magnificent structures in graceful states of destruction (Like that?  Great use of adjectives there Debs - um where was I?) as there was no shade amongst the ruins, it was a meltingly hot day, and the view was just as good from around the edge where there was some shade.

Now for a bit of history.

The Roman forum is what's left of the buildings of the Roman public plaza that was used from about 8th Century BC to 600 AD - that's about 1400 years folks.  It served as an area for commercial, religious, political, legal and social activities.  

You can find a list of the monuments in the Roman Forum here.

You can see a line of tourists up the top who were doing the same thing we were.
I would have liked to actually amble about the ruins but it was really that impossibly hot.
Next time we will go in cooler weather.

Just a nice view from the top of somewhere - nothing to do with ruins.

 Oh and we did happen to pass this place on our travels

but as I'm sure it's not familiar to any of you I shan't mention it.


 Roman Forum - July 2015