My European Trip 7 Rome, Italy & The Vatican

Heus  ! Here I am again, Renxkyoko Iglesias !

I’m  on the 7th post of my European trip.  I’m now in the great city of Rome and The Vatican.  But first, an introduction to The Vatican.  Very few of us know that The Vatican is a country that issues its own passports, is also  a city-state  ( like Singapore) and is considered the smallest country in the world, with a population of 1,000 ( about 100 of whom are Swiss   Guards ) that are mostly members of the Catholic clergy and a few non-clergy staff.  It is a walled city within the city of Rome, with a zero birthrate ( not surprising,  what with majority of the population practicing celibacy ), and area just 80 hectares. ( 198 acres)

My  photos of Rome and The Vatican   consist mostly of  art objects and religious statues.  The Vatican Museum is a treasure trove of ancient art, what we call the Antiquities. ( statues and paintings ). They are simply amazing . You know, when I saw Michaelangelo’s PIETA, my heart stopped for a second, literally. I mean, it  just…….. ” took my breath away. ”    Pardon me for  being melodramatic but  I really felt that way..

.There we are queieng to enter the Vatican Museum.

.There’s our Italian tour guide, the one who said I had a Roman nose.  Ha ha ha ! Look, she’s speaking to a recorder. Everyone was given this thing  that we hook ed around our ear so we could hear her even from  a distance and most importantly, if we got lost. That came in handy because I actually got lost at Versailles in France.

.That’s the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica. That dome was designed by Michaelangelo.   I’m wearing a long-sleeved shirt and pants.  Anyone wearing a sleeveless shirt or a dress that shows the knees is banned from entering a Catholic Church in Italy …. oh,  and in Spain too. No shorts. They have a very strict dress code.

.

.That golden globe looks so out of place. I have no idea why it’s there and what’s it for. I was so  busy taking photos of the area, I didn’t listen to the guide’s lecture.

. It looks like something that has been left behind by  aliens. Actually, the globe is called Sfera con Sfera. ( A Sphere within a sphere )

The Pope is the head of  The Vatican and of more than 1 billion Catholics,  myself included.  Furthermore,  he is considered the Vicar of Christ,  the human messenger of God here on earth, and therefore , whatever comes out of his mouth cannot be disputed. In other words,  he is infallible…….  So, as a Catholic, do I believe in the Pope’s infallibility ?  I’m not sure. Don’t get me wrong, though. I’m a practicing Catholic.  I go to Mass every Sunday, without fail,  listen to the priest’s sermon attentively, even go to church on holidays of obligation,  but I think believing in the Pope’s infallibility is kind of a stretch. Okay, I digress.

.

.Mom should have let the lady behind pass before she took the picture.  That’s  a beautiful photo, don’t you think so ?

Do you know how it feels walking down this great hallway ?  And that is just the hallway leading to the Museum proper.  * speechless*  * jaw drop *  * totally overwhelmed *

.

.

.

.

.

I’m not an expert on male bodies but I think these Roman men really look buffed and fit. Well, a bit on the effeminate side, but   spectacular, nonetheless.    Oh, and the men must have spent a lot of time curling their hair.

.Do you notice the guys always have some cloth  draped on  their shoulder, but they’re naked down there ?   * sweat*  What’s up with that ?  I’m not being perverted here , I just find  fashion in their time awkward.  O_Oa  I mean, did they walk around town dressed like that ?  ” Good morning, Octavius. * looks down * Oooops, you’re quite perky today, I see “  Oh, well, I guess it didn’t matter if everyone was dressed  that way. When in Rome, do as the Romans do.   To this day, there are, in fact,  places where women are topless and men wear a loincloth that’s  just enough to cover their privates.

From the hallway , then upstairs to the museum proper.  Hey, that’s my Mom, the one wearing a hat. .

.

.Jaw- dropping  art.  For such a small country, The Vatican packs a punch.  If you can visit just one country, go to The Vatican ( and of course Italy. The Roman ruins are just in the neighborhood. ) To us Roman Catholics, this is a religious pilgrimage.

Everything in the country is spectacularly rich. ( But I highly doubt Jesus would  approve.  Well, we all know what Jesus thought of the rich and powerful……… and the Romans, . Are you listening, Mitt Romney ?  )  Anyways, the photo above is the courtyard inside the Vatican Museum.

.

.Perfect  human specimen !

I guess the statues we see  lining the hallway  are the minions, and the guy above is a VIP, a member of the elite,  with his own niche.  As far as quality of the sculptures is concerned, I don’t see any difference. So, how come those guys at the hallway don’t have their own niches?  Elitism rearing it’s ugly head again. …………..

Oh, wait! The guy above is Apollo . Okay, he is the sun god, god of beauty,  also the god of music , intellectual pursuits, etc.  and archery.  That sculpture is supposed to show him shooting an arrow, but bow and arrow are gone.  Oh, well, I guess it can’t be helped. He’s a god, after all and the son of Zeus, to boot.  He deserves a niche.

The photo above is that of Venus Felix, and her son Cupid.  What can I say ?  Every female wants to be a   Venus, the  goddess of beauty, and Cupid,  he;s my man of the moment …… shoot that arrow straight into my heart, Cupid !

.That one is that of Laocoon and His Sons. Laocoon is the Trojan who uttered the famous words, ” Beware of Greeks bearing gifts, ” referring to the wooden horse given as gift to the Trojans. I assume you know the story  ILIAD ?  Because of that, Poseidon took revenge and sent sea serpents to kill him and his 2 sons.  The discovery of this sculpture is significant because for the first time , the faces of the sculpture show emotions. ( in this sculpture, it’s emotion of great pain ) Take note that most of the faces of the sculptures before this was discovered  do not show any emotions. The Pope back then sent Michaelangelo himself to examine the sculpture, after which, it influenced his later works. Also, check out the other sculptures. You can see that the body parts ( limbs, etc ) are smooth . Laocoon’s shows rippling muscles that depict his struggles againts the serpents. There are lots of movements in this  sculpture that are absent in others.

Another significant thing about Laocoon is that its discovery  and acquisition by the Vatican started the creation of  The Vatican Museum.  From then on,  The Vatican had acquired almost all of the art objects that could be found in Italy and from all over the world, more specifically from Greece.  Most of the Greek objects were found in Italy though.  Well,  the Romans conquered most of Europe , and the Middle east. To the victors belong the spoils.  ( although I didn’t see anything from Asia, but who knows? Maybe they have a Room of Requirement, a place where they stash all the stuff they have deemed  not important enough to be displayed at the museum. Sorry, I made this up., he he he )

.That is Meleager, a figure in Greek mythology. He is  a boar hunter.  I don’t know his importance in Greek mytholgy , but he must be, because he has a niche in the Museum.

By the way, do you notice the  leaf that covers the private part of some of the sculptures in the Museum ?……… A Pope back then thought it inappropriate to have nude sculptures at the Vatican so he had some of the private parts covered with a  leaf.  That’s unfortunate. That pesky leaf distracts me from fully appreciating the human body.

,Above is Apoxyomenos. He’s some guy  that represents a Greek athlete. His stance is always as if he’s dusting dirt off his arms.

.A bas relief

.The Vatican Museum is not one big space that  houses all these antiquities. It  actually  consists of numerous rooms , and each room has a theme, like the room House of Pompey that houses sculptures of Greek mythological gods. The one above contains mostly  sculptures of animals.

.

.Can you imagine how it feels to be underneath that  magnificent dome , and looking up to see those breathtakingly beautiful frescoes?  To be honest, I’ve run out of adjectives to describe them.

.Check out the frescoes on the dome.  Believe  it or not, they are one dimensional paintings, totally flat, but they look 3 dimensional, don’t they? This kind of painting is repeated all throughout.  And I’m not sure, but this room is the Room of Pompey or The Round Room,  or Sala Rotonda ( sala means living room ) that houses sculptures of Greek gods.   There’s a huge  basin in the middle of the room and an ancient mosaic on the floor.  It felt weird when I was there, because , I swear, this room looks exactly like the ones   on one of my most favorite video games… God of War, 1,2,3 ! Standing there, I felt I was Kratos, and had a sudden urge to  smash the sculptures to get a life force, or move the sculptures around to solve a puzzle. It’s not surprising  though because this is the replica of  the Greek Pantheon.

Guess who !      HERCULES ! I’m glad that he’s not depicted as one with huge muscles, which, to be honest, I find gross.  His body is perfect. And that one is not made of marble. It’s bronze.

.That’s Queen Helena’s sarcophagus ( stone coffin ). St. Helena was the mother of  Constantine. The one below is the sarcophagus of Constantina, the daughter of  Constantine. Both are housed in the Greek-east Room, and in the middle is a 3rd century mosaic floor.

.

.

So far, I’ve only shown photos of The Vatican and none of Rome.  Actually, what I’ve posted here  are  only  1/10 of all the photos I’ve taken of The Vatican.  The Vatican has an immense collection of the Antiquities, one of the world’s greatest museums in the world.  The building where this massive collections are housed can even stand alone as one huge art object, every square inch of it.  I wish I could share all the photos  I had managed to take despite the limited time we were allowed to  see this magnificent place,  although  I’m aware not all share my enthusiasm and passion for the antiquities.   I only hope you won;t be bored to tears, because I’m going to show more  from hereon.  Oh, I wanna use ” Doubling down “, famous 2 words in US politics nowadays.  So, yeah, I’m doubling down.

.That is the Belvedere Torso, the only sculpture that had been signed by the sculptor himself.  ” Appolonius, son of  Nestor “.  He was a Greek sculptor from Athens.

.As you can see, this fragment of a nude male is displayed prominently in the middle of the Room of the Muses.  The Pope  back then wanted Michaelangelo to add limbs to the torso, but M declined several times, and said the torso was perfect. M, in fact, loved it so much that it became his inspiration for his male figures when he painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. You know, when I saw those etched Greek letters, I was like, ” Oh, my , is that a signature? ” and took a picture of it . I was right. That was important.

.I imagine Kratos walking those stairs  and smashing the urn. And about the stairs below…. We climbed up and down these stairs but I didn’t realize it was  this beautiful seen from the top.

.By the way, before I forget, the tour of the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel  was an Optional Tour and cost $ 65 each per person.

And I think  I have to stop here. At this point, this post ‘s word count is now 2014 words, and  contains 60 photos.  I have to admit that;s too much for anyone to digest.  So, I say,  Valete, Pax,  and see you soon !

I wish my brother was at home. He can write an essay in Latin.

74 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by globaldruginfo on September 26, 2012 at 7:34 am

    Amazing Art works !!! Incredible !!!

    Reply

  2. amazing place, wow!

    Reply

  3. I loved your commentary with each photo. 🙂 I remember my visit to the Vatican and the museum. All of it was absolutely beautiful. I like art in general so admiring all these ancient works of art was exciting to be around. I also found it interesting to learn that the Vatican is considered its own country when I first came to Rome.

    Reply

    • Thanks, Simpleek ! Actually I held back in my commentaries. I wasn’t sure iif a commentary would interest the uninterested, especially in greek mythology. I’m just hoping readers will find the photos interesting, at least.

      Reply

  4. Very nice place..very historical..i wish i could be there 😉

    Reply

  5. I remember hearing most ancient Romans and Greeks really didn’t look like their statues. They were supposed to be Gods so they made them look at amazingly human as possible. There’s some old Egyptian king who actually had his statue made to look like him and he was terrible ugly and misshapen. The Romans/Greeks also thought having a big dong was comical so that’s why they all seem to be in the early stages of puberty from the waist down.

    You didn’t ask but this is about the only history I know.

    How did you somehow avoid all European riots and conflicts during your trip? Seems like everything I hear about that continent now is revolution.

    Reply

    • I don’t know , Moose. You know what women say about that dark, swarthy Italians ? It’s true. The sculptors had models. Most of them had, I’m sure.

      About the Egyptians… well, they married their mothers, their sisters. Something had to give somehow.

      Oh, I noticed that too…. about THAT…. not that I’m familiar with such stuff. * sweat * You should know, he he he.

      Oh, my, gosh, in London, we were there 2 days after the Julbillee, and a few weeks before the Olympics…. London looked busy…. then In Spain , we were there during the Euro soccer championship game between Spain and Italy. Our driver was Italian, and our tour director was a Spaniard….. the driver walked out on us. Another driver took over for 2 days when we were in Spain. Those two bickered.

      Reply

  6. It really is an amazing place isn’t it. Thankyou for the lovely photographs and words. There could have been 4,000 for all I care, and twice as many photographs. I was hooked anyway. I’m loving your tour and your observations. Its a treat for me

    Reply

    • It is an amazing place. Actually I held back on my commentaries. ha ha ha Okay, I’ll post more photos and write more …. Thanks ! I’m inspired now. ^_^

      Reply

  7. Fantastic photos & a really great post!

    Reply

  8. I just loved Vatican. Our guide was really good too so I fell in love with Sistine chapel. I was just writing about my trip too. :). You had really nice collection of photos.

    Reply

  9. who knew there would be so much nudity in a place like vatican? 😆

    Reply

  10. I’ve also run out of adjectives to describe all of them :p

    Reply

  11. i love the way you describe the sights, it’s like I’m there renx 🙂 thanks for liking my post too, and more power to your excellent and very popular blog!

    Reply

  12. I guess the favorite job during that time is hair dresser. 🙂

    Reply

  13. Wonderful post, Ren. Thanks a lot for sharing such a beautiful place with us. I loved that picture of Golden globe. It looks interesting. I did not have much knowledge about that one.

    Reply

  14. Enjoyed every minute of your trip with you . Amazing .You showed us some marvelous,historical treasurers .Great,attractive style with awesome photographs.

    Reply

    • Thanks, Love of Fun ! I hope you can come back for more . Cheers !

      Reply

      • Any Time !
        I always get your blog updates a little late, this is main reason to check your late, I don’t know why but this is happening in wordpress, it sometimes, sends late updates, I myself check your blog to find out your precious posts!…If you are on twitter ,join me there to solve the prob..Much Love and care my nice friend !
        A blessed happy weekend wishes 😀

        Reply

  15. I recognized some of these things from my own long-ago (relatively, anyway) travels. I never saw that wicked cool staircase, though.
    I think it’s awesome that you’ve done such a thorough job of recording your trip. You will be very glad at some future date (more glad, as you’re probably glad now). Believe me on this.

    Reply

    • To be honest, I didn’t do any recording. I look at the pictures, they try to write something about them in a chronological manner, but that fails too. I even thought Venice was the first Italian city we visited, so I wrote about it first. Total fail.

      Reply

  16. Great pictures. Beautiful art. Could relate to some of this stuff, since I just got back from Europe myself.

    Reply

  17. Why they love making naked people sculpture? Or people live that way in ancient time? (In Indonesia there’s historical relief where women carved topless. It’s because they lived that way at that time… )

    Reply

  18. Your life rules!Great shots!

    Reply

  19. Posted by WordsFallFromMyEyes on September 29, 2012 at 11:24 am

    I saw your comment reply ‘to see the world is priceless’ – agreed, fully. Daniel aches to go to the US. I believe he will travel.

    Jealous of you though!

    Reply

    • Ha ha I’ went there freebie. My parents paid for everything. So lucky. See, they wanted me to widen my horizon, see the world, not when I’m already old, like my Mom ( dad went on tour too when he was younger )… but they knew i couldn’t afford it, so they subsidized me. lol

      Awwww, Daniel ! ! I’m having a crush on Daniel already, ahahaha ! Kidding !

      Reply

  20. Hi Ren,this is random but I changed my blogs address to http://justastrangerinastrangeland.wordpress.com/
    I say this because you requested access to view my previous blog.
    Vatican??Wooohooo It seems you had a great time!! 🙂

    Reply

  21. hello, Ren… thanks for coming over the site and leaving comments, dear… really appreciate it, especially as I know you’re truly busy. thanks, thanks… 🙂

    hey, this post is very informative. and i wouldn’t know i looked at 60 pics. wait, did you just say 60? well, the first time i did – that many, huh… btw, you sound like you really enjoyed looking, gawking at and taking pics at the Vatican, haha.

    here’s a classic Ren hirit – “but I think believing in the Pope’s infallibility is kind of a stretch. Okay, I digress.” hahaha… peace and cheers, kapatid… 😉

    Reply

    • You know what, actually, we didn’t have time to gawk. We were given maybe 5 seconds to absorb / gawk , sometimes less,,,, like you know, just glance, and if we had time, took a pic at something really interesting. The problem was, everything was interesting. That’s why, I need to go back .

      Ahaha ! What’s the classic Ren ” hirit” and what is ” hirit” ?

      is it really informative? Sometimes i think I talk too much…. Good thing I didn’t write ” it’s a pity there were no electric hair curlers then.” he he he… that would be too cheeky.

      Reply

  22. Looks like a great time! Cheers!
    Mr P

    Reply

  23. Great post with so many beautiful shots.. 🙂

    Italian and greek fashion was quick overviewed in the good old days, they wasn’t used much money for dressed up… ‘big smile’

    Reply

  24. Posted by Hollin Scott on October 1, 2012 at 8:27 am

    These are absolutely incredible photos. Must have been an amazing trip!

    Reply

  25. hello, Ren… am sure your trip back to Europe will be more leisurely. old architectures are really charming, no?

    hey, did you have Humanities subject in your first two years in college there? the ones where porticos, patios and paintings are discussed – plus the fascination of the Europeans with voluptuous figures back in the day? 😉

    Reply

    • No, we don’t have Humanities here in the US. My parents were graduates of the University of the Philippines, and that course, Humanities, had been mentioned as one of my Mom;s fun courses at that university. She said her Humanities professor ” analyzed” the Beatles’ song “When I’m 64.” And she was a great Betlas fan…,. still is.

      Reply

      • oo, magandang subject ang humanities. its about curves, lines, trends of times, etc… ay, cool, UP grads pala parents, as in. kaya pala your mom’s makulit about academic excellence, hehe. hala, second fave songs ‘yan ng the parents? 😉

        Reply

        • My sis and bro finished high school in the Philippines. Anyways, the family saw my high school’s curriculum… and they said they had more courses in highschool in the Philippines. ( Both my siblings went to college here in the US ) Is it true students get expelled in the Philippines for bad grades ? Like, you cannot enroll anymore? Mom said she had classmates in highschool that failed in two courses , and were dropped from the roll. Mom said getting expelled from school was like the end of the world, like your future was already ruined and students would just commit suicide or something.

          ha ha why are we talking about school here ? I think it started with Humanities, right?

          Reply

  26. Posted by WordsFallFromMyEyes on October 2, 2012 at 9:49 am

    Wow, huge blessings to you that you have the opportunity to do all this, MEAGAWORTHIT! 🙂 Really wonderful times. I treasure seeing pics I don’t know if I will ever, ever see for real. The world is huge and small all in one…

    Reply

  27. Cool, love your pictures and comments.. I just can’t imagine if all the male in the present days just cover the top part of their body and bare naked on the lower part… lol 🙂

    Reply

  28. Cool! Those are the must-see places!

    On another note, papal infallibility is not merely about the Pope excused from committing mistakes. It’s actually a theological term that we ordinary Catholics will only bleed to death if we further try to understand. 😀 Check this link out for some nose-bleeding sessions: http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/07790a.htm

    Reply

  29. Posted by ~REBECCA DAWN~ on October 8, 2012 at 1:46 am

    Lovely pictures!!! I think I would get a little nauseated trying to climb those spiral stairs!!!I don’t think I would ever want to leave! Everything is so beautiful!

    Reply

  30. Thanks for taking us all with you. It was stunning.

    Reply

  31. I never thought of Spain to be a short-dress-restricting Country? For the Vatican I would understand. Anyway, that is just sad. It’s a beautiful place though, the photos are breath taking! 🙂

    Reply

  32. Posted by Pat on April 10, 2013 at 6:02 am

    Interesting about the first sculptures to feature emotion. It reminds of Jaynes theories about the origin of human consciousness throughout that period; also heavily cites ‘Iliad’.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: