Remembering Italy-Part II—-Vatican Experience
Excerpt from my journal… (Unfortunately, my pictures were lost)
This weekend was great! Went to Rome and the Vatican, plus got to souvenir shop and drive thru Rome once more. Love that city. I was hanging with G. who is very laidback and pleasant. Some interesting thing that were told to us by the guide:
[In the Vatican Museums] There was a tub of Nero’s [crazy former Emperor] where he and his maidens bathed in donkey’s milk to keep his skin soft. We also learned that a basilica is commissioned and a cathedral is under the presiding cover of the bishop of that town. The priests or monks were among the first to excavate the ancient Greek and Roman ruins. They collected the busts and statues of the Roman gods, etc. and that is why they are still in the Vatican Museums to this day.
The popes are buried underneath [the Basilica?] and mummified. If they obtain sainthood, after 30 years, they are brought upstairs, waxed and dressed in red and white (the same suit Santa wears), the colors of which stand for faith and charity.
Every 25 years is a year of Jubilee, when everyone’s sins can be completely forgiven [in Catholic practice.]On Christmas Eve of that year, the Pope opens the Bronze Doors and breaks through a thin covering. It is later sealed up again for another 25 years.
All the paintings in St. Peter’s Basilica are actually mosaics.
To me, St. Peter’s Basilica was more awe-inspiring than the Sistine Chapel. But really it’s like comparing apples and oranges. The chapel is smaller, more rustic. [No pictures are allowed in the chapel to preserve the art. The entire Bible story is told in sequential pictures] Michaelangelo was forced to paint the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel on the threat of imprisonment, but he hated it. He painted certain insults to key figures in the art on purpose. (eg. the devil’s face looked a lot like one of the leaders who forced him to paint.)
He was a sculptor who believed that his job was to find the right piece of marble and then free the image from that special stone, chosen by God. He used several statues as his inspiration for other pieces.