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Rome Christmas 2007
 
 
(Click on the images for a larger version.)
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Although, I've been to Rome a
 
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few times over my trips to Italy.
 
Vatican wall
I still had one major Rome attraction I hadn't seen.
 
Vatican Museum Entrance
The Vatican Museum.
 
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When Ilaria and I walked by the museum and found no line (typically there is >hour wait), it was finally my time to see
 
School of Athens Vatican
the School of Athens.

The big roof by Michaelangelo is more famous, but this painting by Raphael was what I wanted to see most.
 
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One nice surprise for me was the section on modern religious art.
 
crocifisso Rosai
Here's L'uomo crocifisso by Ottone Rosai. That's something different. Looks like Igor Stravinsky on a cross.
 
the thinker rodin
I thought I was seeing something unique when I saw Rodin's The Thinker for the first time. But this statue is in tons of museums.
 
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When things start to get a little more claustrophobic, you know you're almost to the
 
Sistine Chapel
Sistine Chapel.
 
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Which is the ultimate tourist mosh pit.

The Rosetta Stone in London, the Hope Diamond in DC, even the Mona Lisa in Paris can't approach the level of over-tourism that the Sistine Chapel experiences.
 
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But it is really something to see.
 
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And as you look up, you hardly notice the tourists.
 
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On one of the less crowded areas of the chapel is Perugino's most famous painting Christ Giving the Keys to St. Peter, which I remembered memorizing many years ago in Art History class at LSU.
 
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Finally, The Last Judgement behind the altar was painted by Michaelangelo 30 years after he finished the ceilings.
 
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The garden in the Vatican Museum is one of the few outdoor areas of the Vatican that normal folks can walk around in.
 
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So Ilaria took me to
 
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a cool little museum,
 
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which housed all of the previous popemobiles.
 
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The popes have traveled
 
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in many different
 
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ways
 
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over the years.
 
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Glad I wasn't the pope or the pope carriers during this pope's reign. That's a really tiny box to ride in for one of the world's most prestigious persons.
 
vatican exit
One final experience for Vatican Museum goers is the exit.
 
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The exit was designed for horses
 
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but is really fun for humans too.
 
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Since this seemed to be short-line-day in Rome, Ilaria and I tried our luck at St. Peters,
 
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which was ready for Christmas
 
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and protected by cartoon-like characters.
 
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I wasn't expecting the world's most famous church to be filled with
 
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plastic chairs for the congregation (where are the 600 year old wood pews?)
 
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The altar is a bit scary looking for my taste,
 
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but I thought the heavenly rays through the windows in the dome were a nice effect.
 
nativity st peters rome
The nativity setup in St. Peters was also underwhelming.
 
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This is a pretty good example of what Italian high school/middle school kids look like.
 
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Then I had the best sandwich of my life (no joke).
 
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It was porchetta (roasted pig)
 
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on some crunchy burrito like bread (piadina).

Boy it was tasty.
 
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With our full bellies, we went to Trastevere, one of Ilaria's favorite neighborhoods in Rome.
 
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And then we walked
 
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by some cat-filled
 
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Roman ruins
 
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on our way to the Christmas market.

Then we took the train back to Latina.