The Vatican

People warned me that the Vatican would be mobbed and it was. Really mobbed. Our intrepid guide, five feet tall and carrying a flag on a stick, dispensed knowledge with a warm charm and kept a good pace going. The hours flew by.

Saint Peter’s Basilica (below) and our guide (above).

The dome is slightly smaller than the Pantheon’s.

Believe it be or not, I had seen Michelangelo’s Pieta before when it came to the New York World’s Fair. It says something about my mother that we went. For all our frequent trips to family in the city over the years, my parents never took us to the Bronx Zoo or the Statue of Liberty or FAO Schwartz. But we saw Michelangelo’s Pieta.

The artist spent eight months at the quarry looking for the right block of marble for this piece. He famously claimed that his sculptures were already present in the stone and all he did was liberate them. “He was not a modest man,” said our guide.

He sculpted this piece at the age of 25 and it is the only piece of art that he ever signed.

Outside the lines stretched for miles! Buying tix for a tour in advance is definitely the way to go (we used City Wonders).

Setting up for Easter services. I gather it was a little more crowded than usual given the time of year.

Here is a brief clip of lightening over the city from yesterday.

If it doesn’t load, you can view it over on Instagram (deeamallon).

(We weren’t allowed to take photos of the Sistine Chapel).

Our second memorable meal was at a tiny place down a little alley that we just happed upon. Boy, what Italians do with artichokes! I’m gonna have to up my game in future.

18 thoughts on “The Vatican

  1. kathy dorfer

    what time of day did you go ? we have a guide for 7:15 in the morning . we have our 5 yr
    old granddaughter with us . she loves all the paintings but think 3 hrs is about enough .

    1. deemallon Post author

      We went at noon. From what I’ve read the earliest tours are the best because you might actually get inside the Sistine chapel before it’s packed. There were a number of children in our group (tho a bit older than five) who did just fine. Bring water. And with the crowds, three hours is PLENTY.

  2. Mo Crow

    I saw Michelangelo’s Pieta at the New York World’s Fair back in 1964 too, the memory of the white marble offset by the dark blue of the drapes is still so clear

    1. deemallon Post author

      Funny to think we were both there. Course the greater thrill for me was the It’s a Small Small World exhibit. I got the 45 as a souvenir.

  3. Marti

    The photos of the Vatican, the Pieta are wonderful but the heart of it all for me is your discovery, down a little side street , of a marvelous meal of artichokes and pasta.

  4. gin

    My favorite place was the hall with the maps of the oceans and continents. Sea monsters included. That blue is divine. . And I love their gift shop!

    I guess Easter is the pilgrim period.. . But still, even crowded, it’s all so cool.

  5. Sue Batterham

    Visual overload? Sometimes there is so much that you can’t take it in, then some small thing catches your eye and you remember it forever.

    1. deemallon Post author

      Well by the time we got to the Sistine Chapel, I almost didn’t care. After being herded and herded some more. And all the spectacular floors and ceilings and walls BEFORE getting there.

  6. Deborah Lacativa

    Summer of ’64. I went through the Vatican pavilion so many times the guards all knew me. Just to see the Pieta. To be awed.

    1. deemallon Post author

      Happy travels to you! Enjoy your time away from New York AND your time away from the internet.

  7. Liz A

    I thought of you, there, as we watched Notre Dame’s spire plunge into the flames … how we are witnesses to that which is so ephemeral

    1. deemallon Post author

      I found myself worrying about the Vatican. It seems so solid and eternal in a way but it, too, could be gone in an instant. Notre Dame! Damn. But I heard today that the rose window survived.


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