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


  1. Wow -- the Borgias! How exciting! And too bad about no photography in the Sistine Chapel. I suppose they want to be sure it's protected but in the days of digital, there isn't that flash throw that used to be the plague of museums. Well, I suppose they sell more postcards that way!

    1. I suppose so. Mind you, with the amount of people in there it was actually easier to just stand and admire the view.

  2. He was a naughty fellow, to say the least!

  3. Very cool! I think you appreciated it more for your knowledge of the history. I was here so long ago, and before they restored the paintings. I was really surprised by the color!

    1. I guess it's one of the perks of being a history nerd. There were restoration works going on in other areas of the Vatican when we were there. It must be a slow and painstaking process but worth it.


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