Monday, July 30, 2012

Vatican Museums

After two whole months in Rome (where did it go?!?!?) I finally went to the Vatican Museums! We booked online the day before and just had to scramble to print the tickets. Our tickets were supposed to help us cut the line and our entrance was at noon.

So of course we were running a few minutes behind and had to power walk through the blistering Roman heat only to find that:
1. There was no line. For some reason, on a Saturday in high tourist season, there was NO LINE TO GET IN. So much for the 4Euro early booking fee and scrambling to print the voucher.
2. The entrance time meant absolutely nothing.

Then we were in! The museum itself was kind of frustrating, lacking in signage, nothing to tell you what was in which gallery, about four galleries closed for the day with no notice until you walked all the way there to find it shut... Maybe I'm spoiled because I've been to a lot of really nice museums, but the quality of the layout and space have a huge effect on my experience of the art. In a way, I felt like I wasn't that impressed by the art at the Vatican museums because of the layout. Really I should just get over that but it's not easy! It's also not easy when you're surrounded by groups of 50 tourists all taking pictures and cutting you off and blocking entrances/exits/paintings/etc. And it's hot.

Another major frustration was that whole rooms of Roman statues were closed off. There was a rope over the entrance and you could see in, but couldn't see anything up close or read any of the signage about when/where/who/why.

Final complaint- after you finish the museum in the Sistine Chapel you can't just exit. Only groups can just exit. If you aren't part of a group you have to walk back through the ENTIRE museum you just walked through! It took us at least 15 minutes of walking to exit.

So finally, I'm glad I went because there are so many beautiful works of art. But I will never ever go back in the summer again. I threw a coin in the Trevi Fountain so I'll be back to Rome again some time and I'm really really really really hoping it's in the winter!

The visit was salvaged by how incredible Raphael's School of Athens is/was/will always be, and the delicious gelato we ate afterwards.

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