After two weeks of  ‘doing’ Italy, we were starting to get a bit museum-weary. But you can’t come to Rome and not visit the Vatican Museums!

I was very glad I had pre-booked, as this is just about one-tenth of the queue – it went right around the corner.

The Vatican Museums are home to one of the world’s most important art collections (plus the Sistine Chapel and the Raphael Rooms) and are housed in palaces originally built for some of the Renaissance popes.

The Museums are vast with several different itineraries ranging from a quick 90 minute ‘hit the main sights’ route designed for those tour groups doing 63 countries in 12 days, through to a five or six hour marathon effort.  We choose a middle-path.

Within minutes we were all shaking our heads at the total excess of the collections. There is just too much to take in.

Classical statues.

Giant bowls. (Nero’s porphyry, created from a single piece of granite.)

Mosaic floors plundered preserved from ancient villas.



Modern religious art. (A piece from the Sala Matisse – a room devoted to a collection of works from the French artist Henri Matisse. It’s based on the sketches he drew to adorn the Rosary Chapel in St. Paul de Vence in France. )

From the terrace there is a view of the massive dome of St Peter’s.

Even the exit is excessive – a massive double-helix spiral ramp designed by Giuseppe Momo in 1932 (practically brand-new in Italian terms).
Tomorrow…ancient Rome
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