The secret to not waiting 3 hours in line for Italian museums is to cough up 30 bucks or so for the “skip-the-line” guided tours. At the Vatican Museum they start about two hours before the museum opens. The only problem is that then you have to follow a guided tour. I don’t know if it’s ADD or individualism, but I can’t seem to stay with a tour. I kept jumping ahead and lagging behind, making the tour guide insane. At one point I told her I had to go to the restroom and she tried to make me wait for the scheduled restroom stop 20 minutes later. You can’t make a woman over 40 wait that long unless you want to see what the goofy-looking Swiss Guard does to people who pee on the floor of the Sistine Chapel.
The Vatican Museum is a collection of marble, gilt and gold like you have never seen. It is really overwhelming. The entire ceiling is awash with gold. Some of the statuary is really trippy. There is an entire room of male nudes with their penises lopped off, thanks to Pope Pius IX and Catholicism’s weird obsession with the human body. I wonder where they keep all of the penises.
Babies and creepy children are allowed to keep their penises, because chopping them off would be weird, right?
And boobs are cool. In fact, the more, the better.
Foot fetish? No problem.
There are a lot of babies in the museum. And a lot of beheadings. None of John the Baptist though. I think these are Judith. At least one of them clearly inspired Artemisia Gentilischi.
The guide was really into the 4 Raphael chambers. Lots of muscular butts.
And what was Sylvester Stallone doing there?
You heard me.
There is a lot of Egyptian art there too, but I guess the guide had to pick and choose from the miles and miles of art. But before the Sistine Chapel she whisked us off to the snack bar past a Chagall and two Dalis. I complained, “You are skipping the entire 20th century!”
We made our way into the Sistine Chapel, where no photography is allowed. It is just as well because it allows you to totally become immersed. Everyone focuses on the ceiling, but the wall behind the altar is a gorgeous blue and had enough going on to keep me there all day. I sat on a bench and put on the glasses I never wear and just fell into the splendor. The tour guide forced me out against my will. I just wanted to stay there all day but for some reason I HAD to go to St. Paul’s Cathedral. Oh, The Pieta, well, that was almost worth leaving the Sistine Chapel.