We woke up this morning only to be struck by the strange and cruel realization that today was our last in Rome. It is absurd – almost unfair – to think how swiftly time has slipped by us. We would not let our feelings bring us down though, for today we at last made our trip to Vatican City.
Walled off from the rest of Rome, Vatican City is in fact its own separate nation, with its own laws and jurisdictions. If you can ignore the mongrel hordes of tourists that flock to the city and take some time to admire the area, you will be struck by how magnificent the architecture is. The crowds can be annoying at times, but they are almost a necessary and integral aspect of any trip to the Vatican.
The Vatican Museum houses one of the most impressive collections of art in the world, but everyone really just wants to see the crown jewel of it all: the Sistine Chapel. Iconic. Beautiful. Stunning. There’s a thesaurus of compliments I could lavish on those immaculate ceiling frescoes, but none would do them justice. They are truly an amazing sight to behold and need to be seen in person. Commissioned in 1508 AD, it took Michelangelo four full years to finish his masterpiece. The time and patience, not too mention artistic competence, required to complete the project is mind-boggling.
Afterwards, we gave the students the option of some free time or a chance to visit the Da Vinci museum by our hotel. Those that chose to go the museum were treated to a menagerie of gadgets and half-realized inventions by one of the most brilliant minds in history. The wooden replicas of his drawings show the extraordinary level of ingenuity he possessed. I found his many attempts at a flying machine to be among his most interesting endeavors. For our last meal, we figured a few pizzas offered the most fitting conclusion to our Roman holiday. As we went around the tables swapping stories about our favorite parts of the city, we took a quick moment to raise our slices and call “Salute!” in celebration of the phenomenal experience that is the Eternal City.
We will miss it terribly, but the Duomo awaits us in Florence and we can hardly stay down for long knowing what other exploits lay ahead. -Jamie Lansdowne