What are the three most popular Italian words?
According to Simone, our Vatican guide, these are Mafia, bankrupt (doesn’t sound too Italian) and nepotism.
We’re doing the standard tourist activities in Rome because we’re tourists. Today was the Vatican. We booked a tour with Rome Walks to avoid the long lines and to get more understanding than we could get you reading signs in broken English. You won’t get a history of the Vatican here …. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Over 2,500 years of Roman history can’t be told in one blog, especially one tapped out on an iPad. So be tolerant of mistakes.
We meet Simone at 9 am and he guides us through the Vatican Museums. When you visit the Vatican, you’re in the museums – marble busts, Flemish tapestries, sculptures of animals, and frescos. These galleries were apartments for various popes from the 1400s to the 1800s. About 800 people live in the Vatican, the smallest country in the world. But no one invited us to the current pope’s residence. We’re part of a very orderly crowd.
Finally the Sistine Chapel. No photos, no talking… and a lot of other rules. I sit quietly thigh to thigh next to others. People are looking at books, iPads and phones. I try to take in all the images but I can’t absorb most of it. Some women came in with bare arms. Now they’re covering themselves with paper cloaks. Desperate guards yell Silencio.
It’s once in a lifetime experience. Imagine what it’s like for believers.
My feet are dead and I need them for tomorrow.
oh yes, nepotism. The popes didn’t have official descendants. So they appointed nephews as cardinals. Nephew, nepotism.
p.s. I hope to get some comments on the blog because blogging on an iPad is very time consuming.