Friday, June 08, 2007

Just because...

Italy Part 2 - Rome Continued

Next day we had a two and half hour wait for the Vatican Museum as thousands queued to get in. At €13 a head, its no wonder they have gold ceilings.

Of course, some of that money went into establishing one of the greatest collections of art in the world. Mutant ninja turtles such as Michelangelo, Donatello, Leonardo were all represented with major works here. The Sistine Chapel itself was part of the complex and to be honest, was a little gaudy for my taste... Ok I lie... the place was breath taking and almost overwhelmingly beautiful. Sadly, no photos allowed so you'll just have to use your imagination which I'm sure is almost as good as the real thing.

The one thing that kind of shat me was that once you passed through the Sistine Chapel, plausibly one of the most beautiful and historic sites in art, you then enter a bunch of other galleries filled with paintings by Van Gogh, Dali and pretty much every other major artist of the past, I don't know, ten thousand years. The thing is that they don't even mention it anywhere, like they're saying "we've got the Sistine Chapel and... urm, oh yeah, some other shit lying around too, whatever...." I wish I was that blasé about my Van Goghs'.

Next stop was the Pantheon, an ancient shopping centre dated from 125AD after the first one was from 80AD was burnt down. The latin on the front "MAGRIPPA L F COS TERTIUM FECIT" translates in English to "We won't be beaten on price." They had to turn it into a church in 700AD because people kept trying to burn it down because of prices rises or some such thing...

One of the amazing things about the Pantheon is that the domed roof is totally unreinforced, ie they designed each piece of the roof and put it together like a jigsaw, no nails, no concrete or grout. It actually retains the record for the world's largest unreinforced dome, not that its a competition or anything. One fatal design flaw though, big hole in the middle so its gets a bit wet on rainy days...

...but the hole let's spooky light shine down on the angel sculptures.

I'm not sure what this is about but one shop had a whole bunch of wines sponsored by some of the most famous and infamous figures in history. Personally, I wouldn't mind some Marx shiraz, Gramsci merlot or Che chardonnay but think I'll steer clear of Stalin semillion or three types of Hitler pinot.

That night, Ruth tasted her first tiramisu in Italy, her favourite desert in the entire universe. I think it got a 7/10. If you want to make Ruth happy, one of the essential keys to that equation involves tiramisu.

On our last night, we hit the sites again for the night effect and then it was off to Florence.

No comments: