Joho the BlogItaly Day #4 - Joho the Blog

Italy Day #4

I feel stuffed. It’s as if we did nothing but eat color yesterday.

We got a late start and didn’t get to the Vatican until 9:45. It’s a good thing we weren’t fifteen minutees later because the line doubled. Even so, we had a twenty minute wait to make it to the security checkpoint. (I wish I’d been taking photos of all the checkpoints we’ve encountered at ancient and religious sites.)

I hadn’t been in St. Peter’s for 35 years in which time it outran my memory. This is what you get if you want to turn stone into spirit and have all the money in the world.

When we left and asked directions to the Sistene Chapel, we were told that it closes in 30 minutes — the cut off is 12:20 or 12:30, depending on whom you ask. So, we hobble-ran the kilometer (our son is on crutches, recovering from knee surgery) and joined the back of the line, six blocks from the entrance. In desperation, we accepted a guide’s offer to get us in their special way. The tour turned out to be surprisingly good, and I feel only extremely elitist at having bought our way in; my pretend consolation is that we didn’t keep non-guide-payers out.

Unlike St. Peter’s, the Chapel has changed since I saw it in 1971. It’s been entirely cleaned, and the colors now are not shy. (A hint if you go: Start at the back end because that way the paintings aren’t upside down.)

It is odd coming as a Jew to the Vatican. While we understand some of the symbolism, we are reading it, not living it. It is as hard for us to get a grasp of the spirituality that chooses to express itself that way as it is for Christians to understand why my wife and son won’t carry an umbrella on the Sabbath.

We walked back from the Vatican, checked out of our hotel, and took a train to Florence where we met up with our daughter who is studying here this semester. (Excellent restaurant: I Tuscano.) We walked a little bit last night: Straight streets, single-file sidewalks, quiet enough at 10:30pm that our son’s crutching banged out loud. [Tags: ]

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One Response to “Italy Day #4”

  1. The other fun thing is to visit the vatican “museum”. take a good look around, the goods are primarily plunder of people and cultures bashed into oblivion (heavenly, i hope) by various catholic endeavors over the centuries.

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