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La città eterna

Roma! Rome! I have dreamt of this for a long time, and finally I have spent some time in Rome – and on Tuesday I spent the day in Vatican City. The beauty of the old buildings is stunning and well-known from tv pictures and movies.

However, our guided tour started in the Vatican Gardens, which were a completely unknown entity to me. I wonder how many tourists planning their Rome trip even associate them with the home of the Pope?
Truth be told, the walk through them itsself is pretty and worth it; the serenity of so much well-tended green and the holiness of the buildings surrounding the park is very special.
We were lucky enough to have a guide whose sense of humour matched his competence and knowledge, so the 2.5 hours passed in the blink of an eye. He told us about sculptures and the Medici and the sinfall (first time I ever got it, to be honest) and fascinated with little bits and pieces of trivia he added when the audience’s attention shifted. Did you know the Pope has turtles? 🙂

Is it a wonder, then, after the enjoyable and serene morning, that the Vatican Museums and the Capella Sistina came somewhat as a shock?

After the unavoidable queue at the entrance, we could not escape it anymore. It seemed like the way from the entrance to the museums up until the entrance to San Pietro was just one, neverending queue. Impossible to stay together as a group, impossible to enjoy art or sculptures, extremely annoying experience. It was the first time I really got the term “mass tourism“ – maybe I was confronted with its purest realisation, in the midth of one mass of people. I did not even notice when I had finally arrived in the Capella Sistina, until one guard rudely shouted “no photos!“ into my ear (I was not even taking them, for the record…).
It seemed unthinkable to find a place to stand still in this moving mass, but somehow some of my students and me managed to put our feet firmly on the ground and gaze upwards. It had been worth the long walk and bumps. The ceiling is exceptionally beautiful and impressive, even to a in that moment totally annoyed mass tourist like me. I just wish the experience of getting here had been a more pleasurable one.

Rounding up this visit, we climbed the more than 350 stairs to the top of the Cupola of San Pietro. Only a non-
claustrophobic and not overweight person should dare to do this, since the stairs are tiny and the route steep and narrow. Needless to say, we were out of breath when we stopped at the second-to-last landing, in the cupola itsself. The pictures and scenes on tv do not do this huge grail of Christianity any justice. Only here I realized the immensity of San Pietro cathedral and was slightly speechless (the height might have contributed to this though…).

At the very top Roma was awaiting, with sunshine illuminating its variety of buildings. The eternal city is indeed quite magical. bty

Author: carasmelody

daydreamer, hopelessly hopeful, I love the power of words, I love poems, words are soulfood

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