Monday, 19 September 2011

St Peter's

Photo: St Peter's

Day 31: Rome & Vatican City

Today was the day we were going to have our religious experience. We tried, but I just didn’t feel it. I did feel that the wealth of the Catholic Church is nothing short of obscene. I’m sure they could solve world poverty if they wanted to – but I guess they don’t want to. St Peter’s Basilica was, of course, stunning. In Lachlan’s ranking of world churches, he says its #1, so it must be. The Vatican museums, which include the Sistine Chapel, were interesting, but the number of people took some of the gloss off the experience. Interesting the lack of respect people have for some of the rules set by the church. In the Sistine Chapel were prominently displayed signs indicating no photography (it was allowed in other areas of the museum), but hundreds of people were taking photos. This is the only place I’ve seen such signs ignored. Needless to say, once I saw so many others ignoring the signs, I did too. I was surprised by some of the modern art included in the collection. I’m sure that if I glue 2 paddle pop sticks together into a cross and send it to the pope you’ll be able to view it the next time you visit.
We then walked past St Angelos Castle, the burial place of Hadrian (of Hadrian’s Wall fame) and up the Corso to Piazza del Popolo. One of the highlights of the day was the visit to Pantheon. I remember reading about this place in Dan Brown’s ‘Angels and Demons’. I’ll need to re-read the book now after visiting Rome. I’m sure it will make so much more sense now.
Dinner was again at an outdoor-on-the-road restaurant, again with simple Roman style pastas. Lauren can’t wait to get home to try making some of these simple dishes. After 11 hours of mostly standing and walking we’re having a quite night in, before heading to Naples in the morning.

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