One of my best friends got the chance to come explore Italy with me over spring break. Cole Adkins and I have played soccer together for as long as I can remember, and my older brother is married to his older sister. I had 6 days to take him on an adventure through Italy, three and a half in Rome, and two and a half in Cinqueterre.
Out of all of the things that Cole wanted to see, the Vatican and its museums were at the top of his list, which to me sounded like lots of line waiting. Not only is the Vatican probably the number one tourist location in the world, but the day we went was the day before the new pope’s inaugural mass service. This means LOTS of line waiting. The line for Saint Peters wasn’t too bad, but the line for the museums was by far the longest line I have ever seen in my life. The people in line were saying it was at least a three hour wait; this was not going to do since the museum closed in close to 3 hours.
Now the first thing you are taught not to do when at museums is pay to skip the line and get a sketchy roadside tour guide. But, since the line was so long and Cole only had a limited time with me in Rome, we took the chance and paid more than we should have to cut the line to get into the museums.
The Vatican museums are some of the most elaborately decorated I have ever seen, and being the only museum in Rome that Cole saw he dragged his jaw along the entire floor of those halls. The entire museum, although completely awesome and elaborate, is all a huge build up to the all-important Sistine Chapel. The area before the Sistine Chapel was one of the coolest displays of artifacts that I have seen so far in Rome. The hallway was full of golden gifts to the popes in all forms and sizes, encrusted in jewels and gems. After this astonishing display, finally the grand entry to the massive room packed with people that is the Sistine Chapel.
Cole and I entered with a great interest as to whether we were going to be able to take pictures, of which the answer was no. But, with the new technology of the IPhone, the ability to take indiscreet pictures is much too easy, and with about 300 people in one room and one guy yelling no pictures, needless to say, pictures were taken. Cole was ecstatic, given that most of his family is extremely Catholic. The Sistine Chapel was one of those moments for Cole and I when we realized that besides the architecture in Rome, the skill of artists such as Michelangelo were unsurpassed, as seen in the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling. The Vatican’s museums were incredible in their ornament and exhibitions, and with the chapel being the pinnacle of the display, Cole and I both decided that the extra Euros spent for the sketchy pass through the line was for once totally worth it.