Thursday, 27 March 2014

A close look at the Vatican: Vatican Museums

Which photo to choose as an introduction for the Vatican Museums?
This one fits perfectly, because it delivers the right atmosphere: RUSH
You rush ...

... until you are stuck in a crowd

It does not take long and you become Vatican-smart and find your way around the crowds.
Nothing is going to stop us ...

... except for:
Etruskan Gold!


During our first visit at the Vatican Museums, a few days before, we had been way too rushy to care for the Etruskan collection. How foolish!

How lucky we were to get a 2nd chance and correct that ignorant mistake. The Etruskan collection turned out to be a if not THE highlight. imho.

I had no idea know how cute and funny the Etruskan society was - from looking at their pieces of art I get the impression that they were adorable.
Visiting this collection was absolutely refreshing! 

Since one one else was caring for the Etruskan collection, we had all the space around the show cases and fooled around the magnifying glasses on display in the show cases:

You find the Etruskan collection is on the top floor in the museum. Turn your head by 180°,  and you see this:
One of the many hills, one that we climbed with our bikes a few days alter

This looks nice, too: If I am not wrong, then this must be the Prati-district. 

 Can you see the laundry hanging on the washing lines?

Another soothing view:

You remember, at the same time, the rest of the museum looks like this:
Group + group + group  crowd

Everyone is here for the same reason: the Sistine Chapel. In the museum's gardens, tourists from all countries group in front of the sign poles, where the paintings in the chapel are on display. In every corner of the garden you could find a group with a guide, getting trained for the chapel.

The golden "ball" was a good piece of art. I am not sure how it works for the artists and for the Vatican: artists make a piece of art and propose it to the Vatican. The pope either accepts or refuses the piece of art.

The Vatican once refused a piece of art by Joseph Beuys. It came with some empty blood bags.

The artist of the "Death Star" (I know, an el cheapo comparison) was successful. His masterpiece became a big attraction.

A tiny detail, next to a window:

There is so much to see, you will never manage to see it all. 

And if it hadn't been for Mr Paula, I would have missed Sir Peter Ustinov's ancient bust:

What did shock me was the obviously very, very relaxed approach towards climate control. The guards opened windows rather mindlessy, no matter if rain or sun or wind, they even opened the windows in the "Raphael rooms"  - it was raining outside!

Ok. They seem to have a relaxed approach in general.

To calm my nerves, I decide to return to the place where it all begins: The hallway at the entrance of the museum. 99% of the visitors take the escalator and skip the slope.

We walked up the slope and on our way we did discover a quite peculiar little piece of beauty.
They have ancient boat models on display along the slope, like a walking gallery. 

This one got our attention:
This looks quite familiar, no? like an ancient iPad.

Lets not forget, why we are here in the first place. Back to the track. The Sistine Chapel.

All over the Vatican Museums signs remind you why you are here:

"Shortcut to the Sistine Chapel" 
"Alternative way to the Sistine Chapel" 
"Sistine Chapel via Stanza di Raphael"  

etc etc. You get the picture, right?

Right before you make it to the Chapel, this gets in you way:
Modern art!

Paul Klee, Dali, ... you can not not look at it. We stopped, took thorough looks and discovered good details:

Enough with modern arts. I'm almost there, just a few more steps ...

tadah ... there we are.


This was the Sistine Chapel. Hundres of tourists, penned up inside the chapel. A weird, almost gross situation. It is worth to go there twice, because facing the absolutely soulfree atmosphere hurts less when visiting it the 2nd time since you know by then what to expect.

What's next?

It looks quite promising outside. Spots on: time to mee some walls and stones. More to come! 


  1. I enjoyed your scenic route to the Sistine Chapel! It's all in the details