Visiting the Vatican

This entire business of the Vatican’s 108 acres of land in the middle of Rome being a separate country is all rather mysterious and unusual, don’t you think? Even though our group may have been a bit unclear of what that meant for us exactly, we had no difficulty appreciating the amazing art collection in the Vatican Museum, being awed by Michelangelo’s craft in painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, and enjoying the massive, beautiful work of art that is St. Peter’s Basilica. For over four hours, Alexandra led us up and down staircases, through rooms, and over countless door sills, with each move leading us to ever more impressive and unique sights.

1a. Adoration of the shepherds tapestry

This “Adoration of the Shepherds” looks like a fine painting, but it is actually a detailed tapestry, using Raphael’s work as a model.

1d. Antique map of Italy 1500s

The 40 Sixteenth Century geographical frescoes in the Gallery of Maps delighted us all. Although the text is washed out, the boot shape on this map is a great clue.

2. Canopy of Peter's tomb

We joined thousands of other visitors to St. Peter’s Basilica as this year’s special jubilee of mercy attracts pilgrims from across the globe.

Leaving Vatican City and the many folks with whom we (literally) brushed shoulders, we bused some thirty miles into the Apennines to Tivoli. Second-Century Roman emperor Hadrian (117 – 138 A.D.) built a HUGE villa nearby this mountain city which we spent the afternoon exploring.

3. Alexandra giving us the layout of Hadrian's Villa

Alexandra explains the layout of Hadrian’s Villa on a very helpful model.

3e. At the public baths

These folks are obviously enjoying their tour of Hadrian’s Villa ruins. The huge public bath house looms behind us.

The day ended grandly as we shared dinner together in a restaurant situated in the Antiche Terme di Diana (ancient baths of Diana). The rooms, walls, and accompaniments were all 2000+ years old, but the food was fresh, tasty and such a treat.4. At dinner - Antiche Terme di Diana in Tivoli (2).jpg

Our leader, Jeff Weima, regularly connects what we’re seeing with New Testaments events and passages which enhances our experiences 100-fold. We look forward to our trip north to Assisi and Florence tomorrow.

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