European Trip Part 7, part b, The Vatican and Rome

Hello, there !  Renxkyoko Iglesias here !

How many times have I started a post  with these words? According to WP, more than 274 times.  With just 1 or 2 posts a month, I don;t know where WP got that figure. Okay, I think  I know…. it’s from where I first started blogging here, in October , 2010.  And  I did post almost everyday back then…… mindless, stupid posts, like so…. ” Hi, Renxkyoko Iglesias here ! It’s 2 AM right now and guess what I’m doing ? Doing the laundry , that’s what. So, how’s your day ?  Tut, tut, goodbye ! ”   And the one below is the worst…. by the way, it’s dated June 2010…. that was written on another blogsite that was transferred , lock, stock and barrel to WP.

Posted June 28, 2010 by renxkyoko in Uncategorized. 2 Comments | Edit


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2 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by pHiO_cHaN on June 28, 2010 at 5:12 am  edit

    and this too! what entry is this? @___@


  2. Posted by renxkyoko on June 28, 2010 at 5:54 am  edit

    (^__^)”;;  Don’t know.

No wonder  that for a loooong time, I only had  2 or 3 loyal and captured readers, lol. Who would read such crap ? The first time I saw another commenter  on my blog, aside from my loyalists, of course,  I was like, ” Waaaaa ! They can read my blog ? ” All the while, I thought that was my private space .  I was such a dumb-belle…. still one, though, he he he.

Well, then, consider the above   my anniversary post.

Moving on……

This is the second part of my Part 7 tour of Rome and The Vatican.  There’s just no way I can convey the richness of  Rome’s and  The Vatican’s history  with just one post.  Rome ruled for 3,500 years after all. Also, The Vatican Museum contains the biggest collection of  the antiquities.   Don’t worry though, I won’t overload you with images, which  some of you might even  find boring.

.As I wrote before, the Vatican Museum has numerous  rooms, about 55 ,  one of which is the photo above, The Chariot Room.

.That’s Isis , Goddess of Fertility, and those protuberances  are not fruits hanging on her chest… those are breasts.  Ah, gravity has taken its toll.

.I hope this is the last nude statue that I’m going to post here, but I assure you there’s no shortage of nude statues in my cache……..Above  photo is a sweet sculpture of father and son, isn’t it? Actually, no. The title of the sculpture is Temptation of the Grapes, and somehow, temptation connotes something  ominous.


.There’s only one word that can describe the photos above. …. MAJESTIC.


Above is the Gallery of Maps . Check out the frescoes on the ceiling. They are flat paintings but look 3 D. This is also the hallway that leads to the Sistine Channel.

A bit blurry, but I’m in the photo, he he he. Gotta be  in the photo, y’ know.

Old topography of Italy showing  the Vatican’s territories.  Nothing in the maps are accurate for obvious reasons, but Pope Gregory Xlll did introduce the Gregorian Calendar, the calendar that we use today. That’s pretty accurate.

Can we just look and admire ? I’ve run out of words to describe the magnificence of this Museum.  The place is simply overwhelming.

.That;s the Gallery of Tapestries. Check out the 3 D frescoes on the ceiling. They are actually flat paintings. Do you notice the room is dark?  Sunlight will damage the delicate tapestries, so we were requested to minimize the use of flash in our cameras.

.I secretly took this photo.  In fact, we were requested not to use our cameras, at all. Anyway, about the photo….. This is obviously a tapestry of The Last Supper. Do you notice the food on the table? There’s fish, and bread, but what do you see in front of  Jesus? Doesn’t it look like a pig?  Jews don’t eat pork, and Jesus was a Jew. So, what message  was the tapestry  maker trying to convey here?  Was he trying to deny the Jewishness of Jesus ? Is there a subliminal messaging that went  on here ?  Years after His death, there was a split among His followers and disciples on whether to retain the Jewish laws and traditions, or to separate from them and form a new religion that centers on the teachings of Christ. This is ironic because Jesus Himself never left his Jewish Religion.  Well, I’m not going into this. Suffice it to say that, St. Peter ( to whom Jesus has entrusted the building of the Church….. ” Simon, you are Peter, and on this rock, you will build my Church…..”) is considered the first Pope of the Roman Catholic Church, declared  just 30 years after the death of  Jesus. His successor was Pope Linus, ensuring that succession of Popes should be constant, and should always reconize  St. Peter, one of the 12 Apostles, as the first.


.I’m not sure but I think above photo is the official emblem of  The Vatican.

The photo above is the exit , out of the Vatican Museum . Next is St. Peter’s Basilica. Okay, here’s the truth. The Vatican Museum  has 55 rooms. The truth is, I don’t really know how many rooms I’ve visited.  One thing I’m sure of, we didn’t get  to see the famous Raphael Rooms, also called Stanze di Raphael, which are actually papal rooms, the private living quarters of the Popes. . There are 4 smaller rooms in the Stanze.  Raphael painted the walls of these 4 rooms. What is amazing is that , Pope Julius ll commissioned Raphael to paint the walls the same time he ” commanded” Michaelangelo to paint  the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. It’s mindboggling to imagine 2 of the greatest artists , Michaelangelo and Raphael working  almost side by side.. Also, I say ” commanded ” because Michaelangelo resisted  and had to remind the Pope again and again that   he was not a painter, but  a sculptor, and   thus, wouldn’t do a good job of it. He was also worried that the dome of the Sistine Chapel (  that he himself designed ) which was then simultaneously being constructed, would  fall on him.  These 2 artists’  works mark the peak of the Rennaisance art in Europe. By the way, the difference between the two as far as their work at the Vatican was concerned was that, Raphael relied heavily on his assistants ( in fact Raphael died prematurely and it was his assistants who finished the job ) whereas M did it all by himself, alone. Not to mention the fact that M painted lying flat  on his back, while Raphael painted normally, standing on his feet.

I don’t have photos of  Raphael wall frescoes, so apologies to Wikipedia for copying some of theirs and posting them here.

.The title of this fresco  is The School of Athens. Heraclitus ( which is actually a portrait of Michaelangelo) is the one seated on the stairs, in front, and leaning  on a block of marble. The two men standing prominently in the middle of the painting are  Plato and Aristotle. Pythagoras is on the left  writing on something , Euclid is the man on the right teaching a few students, Ptolemy is holding some kind of a sphere, the one lying in the middle of the stairs is Diogenes.

The Optional tour of The Vatican Museums which cost $ 65 per person included entry to the Sistine Chapel.  We were resquested again not to take any photos, and this time, there were quite a number of guards who saw to it the rule was being followed. I even saw a Japanese tourist who was secretly shooting a video being reprimanded by a rude guard . According to our tour guide, taking photos and videos are banned because Nippon  Television Network of Japan has sole copyright or exclusive  TV, video and photo rights to the Sistine Chapel. NTV financed the restoration of the chapel in 1990. The restoration took 20 years to finish.

I don’t want  to be melodramatic, but I was totally in awe. The Sistine Chapel’s ceiling  was one of the greatest masterpieces of all time, made by one of the greatest artist on the planet.  To be there and absorbing everything that I saw was quite a unique experience for me.  Just imagine,   surrounding  me were paintings by some of the greatest painters  in the world… Michaelangelo, Boticelli,  Roselli, among others.  The feeling was simply indescribable. Well, I guess it  was just me.  You know, I saw this Asian tourist ( pardon me, I’m Asian too ) having her photo taken in front of  Michaelangelo’s Pieta. She had a wide smile on her face, standing at an angle that was typical, and making a V – sign. O_O  I thought that V-sign was  an  inappropriate and  disrespectful gesture to make in a church, and in front of one of the greatest masterpieces of all time.  Darn, lady, this is not an amusement park.

About The Sistine Chapel……………..

The Chapel was originally built as a private chapel of  Pope Sixtus lV. He was also the one that commissioned Botticelli, Perugeni, et al, to do the wall frescoes that depicted the lives of Moses and Jesus. He died, and was succeeded by Pope Julius lV who urged Michaelangelo to do the ceiling. It was said that another painter recommended Michaengelo to Pope Juluis. The truth was, this painter was a relative of Raphael, who at that time was M’s arch rival and enemy. He knew that M was not a painter, and if, by chance, he accepted Pope Juluis’ job offer, he   wished M would fail, and he and his cousin Raphael could then  happily gloat over M’s failure. As expected, Michaelangelo resisted at first, but the Pope insisted and in fact dangled several  future  sculpturing  commissions as a kind of bribe.  Thanks to that painter’s malicious suggestion, the world got one of the greatest materpiece art of all time.  Michaelangelo was of course worried his work wouldn’t be that good. So what he did was to start painting on the ceiling closest to the main entrance. His rationale was , that area would be amateurish,  because  he knew his foray into  painting wouldn’t be that good at first, so to cover that up, he first  started painting on the  ceiling above the main entrance.  He figured that people entering the chapel would look first at the paintings in front, and  not above their heads where they would  have to crane their necks or tilt their heads  uncomfortably.  The last painting he did was on the wall behind the altar, The Last Judgement, which he thought was the best, and the first that people would see as they entered the chapel.

.Jesus is in the middle of the painting, and check out the man seated on a rock that is directly underneath Jesus’ image, the one on the right, and holding a soul that he’s about to drop into hell.  On my previous post, I wrote that Michaelangelo admired the Belevedere torso . That man’s image above is almost an imitation of the Belvedere torso.


.Michaelangelo painted almost all of  the images nude.  Some Cardinals complained to the Pope… said it was immoral and   appropriate to be placed only in taverns and bath houses , and not in  such a sacred place. The Pope ignored their complaints. But later, when   Michaelangelo died, the private parts of the nude figures were painted over with some cloth. Check out  the photo above, and the main painting.  During the restoration process though, the restorers were charged to remove the paint -overs without damaging the original painting. So, what people see now are  nude human figures as originally painted.  The covers have been washed away. Too bad I couldn’t find any of the restored image.

* I suddenly have a vision of myself holding a pointer and  giving a lecture to a nearly empty hall *

* taps table with  pointer ” The picture below shows The Creation of Adam, one of the two most famous paintings in the world, rivaled only by Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa.

.It depicts God giving life to Adam, the life force of which emanates from his fingers. It contradicts the Biblical narrative of God breathing life into Adam. Michaengelo of course got away with so many things. In fact, he was commissioned to paint only 12 figures, those of the 12 apostles. M was appaled there would be such a lot of empty space on the ceiling, so the Pope gave him carte blanche on what he wanted to do. M decided to paint Biblical scenes since most of Jesus ‘ life had already been painted on the walls. He ended up painting 300 human figures.

Actually, the chapel is really small. It’s the Pope’s private chapel, where he meditates and prays in private, I guess. But nowadays, it’s the place where Cardinals gather to elect a new Pope., and where tourists can gawk and marvel at the paintings.


.It’;s kind of dark in there, to be honest. But they’re just trying to protect the paintings from harsh light.

Well, I guess this is it . I’d like to inform you that I need a part C of  The Vatican and Rome. There are just so many things I  want to show and tell you.  Please pardon me . I need to show you St, Peter’s Basilica, and  Rome, so bear with me, okay. If you’re bored, it’;s okay, but I have to post my stuff here.

Good day to all, and PAX !

40 responses to this post.

  1. “taking photos and videos are banned because Nippon Television Network of Japan has sole copyright or exclusive TV, video and photo rights to the Sistine Chapel”

    what kind of a murky business deal has vatican agreed to with NHK to restrict people from taking photographs of these masterpieces? that’s so insane.

    awesome pictures (the ones you were able to take) 😀


    • Fortunately, it isn’t a permanent exclusive right. here’s an expiration date, but I guess, not this year.NHK did spend a lot for that restoration, and of course nothing is free in life, except air


  2. Hi Ren! I just left Rome about four days ago. The Sistine Chapel was ridiculous; it was hard not to be moved by it. St. Peter’s Basilica was dope as well. I have no idea how much of the Vatican I actually saw – decided to be cheap and skip the tours and just paid the 15 Euro entrance fee and wandered around. I also did not go inside the castle near the Vatican, but took some photos of the outside. For my budget, it was an excellent experience. I was disappointed I did not get a change to chat with the Pope.

    Nice post girl! Brought back some very recent memories. : )


    • YOU ! ! You didn’t get to see the Museum? AND YOU WERE ALREADY THERE???????????? Topicless, that’s the dopest thing I ever heard in my whole life !!!!!!!!!!!!! YOU COULD HAVE USED YOUR CREDIT CARD !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What ‘s $ 65 for the ticket ? The Museum is PRICELESS ! ! ! * sniff * You really should have seen it , Topicless. Seriously.


      • Hahaha. Hi Ren! Yeah, I saw the museum girl, chill kid. It was 15 Euro. I just didn’t have a guide or anything. And you are correct, it was dope. I would’ve been proud of you if you snuck a pic of the Sistine Chapel. I bet, at least, you talked in there. You’re such a rebel!


        • Wait a sec…. you paid just $ 15 for the ticket? How come we paid $65? ha ! The travel agency even profited from that? tsk !

          Nope, not in the Sistine Chapel… but the tour guide…… well, she whispered to her recorder, but we could hear her very clearly. We weren’t even supoosed to talk, right? How long did you stay inside? At least she let us lingered there and absorbed everything, about 30 minutes.

          I’m such a rebel? Thank YOu ! ! I love that. My friend told me I’m a no-life – nerd. * I prefer to read the Encyclopedia than go clubbing, he he he


  3. Lovely as always! Look forward to more about your trip.


  4. People there are so in to arts! Really looks amazing, thanks for sharing the photos… and yeah regarding the Last Supper, it does look like a pig…I find it weird…


  5. W – O – W!! Awesome photos. It’s one of my dream travels to go there.
    Why did many guys of that time wear a leaf over their hmm hmm.. Don’t know how they got it to stay…


  6. I didn’t think you could top your previous post, but you proved me wrong… Good work!


  7. hello, Ren… it’s fun reading this. you never run out of stories (and remarks), my dear… i still have six paragraphs to go, hehe. will come back… just saying hi and thanks… take care 🙂


    • Will wait …. come back, Ate.


      • ahaha, i finished it na… what can i say, if you’re going to rewrite history, you’d put a lot of people into trouble and generate as much yourself, haha. you always have stories and you tell them in an irreverent kind of way. am beginning to suspect you were raised in a very religious environment, lol.

        it’s good that the guards do not have laser device yet for singling out Catholics who do not stick to the Vatican’s official version of the Church Narrative. or, else… peace 😉 wonderful pics with a TMZ like voice-over, hehehe. hi, Ren 😉


        • Ahahaha ! We are a family of contradictions. We are indeed ” religious “, even active in the parish ( we go to church potlucks, etc. ) but our minds are open. I myself believe in science. There are some things in the Bible that I “accept” tongue in cheek, so to speak, like ” if you say so. ” ( Like the parting of the Red Sea ) The writer of this narrative wouldn’t get away with this if there were news reporters then, y’know ? At the same time, we belong to the so called ” bleeding heart liberals”…. but I believe this comes from our core religious belief. It’s horizontal, not vertical. Also, I would hug a tree, frantically recycle anything recyclable, etc……

          Oh. How can my being irreverent make you suspect I was raised in a very religious envirinment? o.Oa


          • oh, i happened to have read a couple of Thomas Hardy’s works… have also followed a few other irreverent bloggers. almost always, the irreverent ones have been exposed to rigorous religious doctrines and practices for a considerable period, ahaha. it can’t be helped, i guess. go, figure, lol. ^^

            btw, none of them have been incarcerated or charged for big crimes or hailed to court, yet, haha. so, you’d be alright, girl – bleeding liberal, tree-hugging and all.

            cheers, Ren. have a blast!… 😉


  8. i saw the small pig.. why was it so small? the fish were much bigger.. so why was it like that? and by the way, nice pics!! I ENVY YOU!!!! *for the nth time*


    • Eh. I noticed that when I posted the photo, and i was like What the ! ! ! maybe the tapestry maker did that so that people wouldn’t notice, because seriously, that was , aaaargh. .


  9. Some of the best paintings and sculptures 🙂 Surprising how talented people are, during that time 🙂


    • yes, they were. they did love making beautiful things, and really elaborate ones. I guess they had plenty of time?


      • Yup exactly!!! Using painting and sculptures they have told stories…They did a perfect work with plenty of time given to them. Now am not sure people can do the same work perfectly even if they’re given plenty of time!!!!


  10. As I keep saying I’m loving your tour, and the amazing photographs. SO clear and sharp. Needless to say the subject is breathtaking. You Blog is a veteran compared to mine, and I still only get a few visitors, but you are one who is always appreciated.


  11. Great post, Ren. What a beautiful place it is! I loved the 3 D frescoes on the ceiling. They are awesome. Thanks a lot for sharing your trip with so much detailing. Wonderful work, Ren. 🙂


    • Thanks ! I really didn’t capture the 3D-ness of the frescoes. It was more amazing of you saw the real thing. When the tour guide told us , I was like, huh? No way !


  12. So beautiful. Love the pictures. Got to go there one day.


    • yes, it’s really amazing there. Suggestion, never go with a tour group. Just be ready to know which is which… they sell maps there and information. You will appreciate the stuff there if you know something about them. Tour groups are like bullet-paced. You cannot stop to appreciate one thing… you only have time to take a quick shot and then move on, to keep pace with the tour guide who walks so fast.


  13. Beautiful photos (both your originals and those from Wikipedia!). I know I’ve said it before, but I think travel is such an awesome thing. And by continuing to post about your travels, in a very real way, you’re extending them (and the positive health and mental benefits associated with them). Keep on truckin’!


  14. So beautiful. Love the pictures. Orofiorentino from Italy


    • Hi , orofiorentino ! How lucky can you get, you’re Italian ! OMG, you have such beautiful country… rich history , rich heritage, and you’re there !


  15. Ahhhh! I’m so inggit!


  16. I will visit Sistine Chapel someday 🙂


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