Thursday, July 12, 2012

12 july - Indiana Jones and the Sistine Chapel

Up early to meet our Context Tour group for our nerdly, professorial tour of the art of the Vatican.  We barely made it in time after working our way through the Roma public transit system and discovered that our Cuban, artist tourguide Jose had been replaced by American, Indiana Jones archaeology professor, Erik who has been living in Rome for 15 years.  Fascinating guy.  He was an endless fountain of information.

We started in the Vatican Museum which is enormous...we only saw a small bit of it. I was particularly impressed by the classical works and the octagonal courtyard thinking about Rafael, Michelangelo and Leonardo all studying and sketching there.  The Sistine Chapel of course was impressive.  It was rehabilitated a few years ago and I found it far more interesting having heard Erik's explanation of the scenes.  He told us that Michelangelo didn't paint it laying down as the urban legend goes.

Ending up in Saint Peter's Basilica was a Bernini festival.  And, the coolest thing was that Erik being an arcaeologist had a pass to get us underneath into the old chapel where the bones of Simon Peter might possibly be.

We wrapped up quite a bit later than the planned time...and Erik helped us try to find the restaurant Nora recommended.  He walked us part way then pointed us in the right direction.  But we needed food and drink asap and stopped at the first cafe we found once we realized that we weren't going to find Nora's recommendation.  Luck was with us and the cafe had a bunch of vegetarian choices and it was delicious!!!  Not cheap, but really worth it.  Josie had veggie cous cous...kind of indian spiced.  I had the "buffet" which came with salads and a quiche with salmon and potatoes and peas, and a delicious zucchinig tart on phyllo dough.  Yum!

After a rest in our cool hotel room, we did laundry at this wonderful little laundromat with internet!  Then wandered around Trastevere again.