Monday, May 16, 2011

Chicken Soup- er…Zuppa- for the Soul

Today was a good day for the soul.
We went to the Vatican, which is already enough said.
The Vatican Museum is overwhelming and intense. It has rooms of paintings, frescoes, tapestries, maps, modern art, and, of course, the entry to the Sistine Chapel. The Chapel is unreal; we started at it for over 30 minutes, and hardly began to analyze and absorb it all. Raphael’s painting, School of Athens, is also in the museum.

St. Peter’s Basilica is unreal; it’s the largest church I’ve ever been in, and manages to be open and spacious and grand and lavish all at the same time. We went on a tour of the Scavi, which is the underground area below St. Peter’s. It’s where the necropolis from the early anno domini years was/is. Constantine built the Constantine Basilica on top of the necropolis, and eventually St. Peter’s Basilica was built on top of Constantine’s. We didn’t get to see St. Peter’s tomb per say, but we did see his relics (apparently they’re not in the same place, and the tomb is more important than the bones. Who knew?). We also saw the Crypt of the Popes.
*Musing of the Day* It was really quite interesting to see the Pagan treatment of death and the afterlife as the foundation of the Christian take. I mean this in the physical sense, as the walls of the necropolis were used to support Constantine’s Basilica, but also in a metaphysical sense, as many Christian symbols and traditions can't help but stem from the Pagans, and understandably so, especially if the first main “adopter” of the Western World- Constantine- was a convert from Paganism.
Rome is full of this kind of remarkable juxtaposition of Pagan and Christian, and sometimes a building or work of art is indistinguishable as one or the other.

Soul- killing
While waiting outside the Basilica for our Scavi Tour, Jessica and I were leaning on this fence (which was metal and we weren't being rough), when it broke. Uh-oh....

Chicken Soup- er…Zuppa- for the Soul
On the way “home,” Matt and Sarah and I took a small detour to take a look at the front Castel San’ Angelo, where Hadrian is buried. Then we rode a carousel. Then we walked back by the Tiber, taking the bike trail that is right by the water. We climbed some ancient walls and found coinage that was Czech, Norwegian, and American. A real, bona fide nickel.

The Soul and Amor
We went back to the restaurant from Sunday night (Vino Pane e San Daniel) and said hello to Samuele the cook again. And gave him a good tip. He said we were mucho gentile, or something to that effect (meaning we’re beautiful). We told him he was good looking, too.