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This is my last post about Rome for a while… I might have one more in me but I am getting kind of tired of writing about Rome. It was so last weekend.
On our last full day in Rome, A. and I decided to go to the Vatican and see the Sistine Chapel. After that we hit-up St. Peter's Basilica. We figured that there would be plenty of tourists doing the same thing as us. Only we had no idea just how many people would be.
When we got to the Vatican museum which also houses the Sistine Chapel, there was a line around the block. We stood in this line for 40 minutes. That's a long time to stand in line just waiting and waiting. The museum is big (and not cheap). Given the line we stood in, once in it was as if the museum was crawling with people. Not fun. Un-fun actually. I am not sure if there was a better plan. Maybe we should have gone earlier in the day. Maybe we should have gone later in the day. Or maybe just maybe we should have gone in the middle of winter when I can only imagine there are fewer tourists.
Here's the thing, even with people everywhere, it was worth it. The Sistine Chapel is awesome. And I don't mean: hey, awesome t-shirt man. Awesome. No I mean: extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring great admiration. Awesome. The size and scale of the project makes it hard to imagine that Michelangelo painted the majority of the space himself in something like four years. The man had a way with paint. The colors, the figures, the feeling the space evokes isn't like anything else I've ever seen. It's hard to believe that Michelangelo didn't really consider himself a painter before this project.
Then to go from the Sistine Chapel into St. Peter's Basilica is a pretty wild. While in the chapel, it seems large especially when you're craning your head backwards trying to take the whole thing in. Of course, St Peter's dwarfs the Sistine Chapel but you don't really get a sense of this until you're walking through the giant cathedral–it's apparently boasts the largest interior of any Christian church in the world.
Interestingly both the Basilica and the Sistine Chapel make you feel small. The first, well, because physically you are small and the latter because it seems nearly impossible to imagine, create and execute a project like that. Maybe Goethe puts it best when he writes: "Without having seen the Sistine Chapel one can form no appreciable idea of what one man is capable of achieving."