By: Marie McGee
Warning: This piece discusses religion, no attempts were made to offend, degrade or hurt anyone. What I say, is simply my own thoughts and opinions of what I saw and experienced while in Vatican City. This is from a non-catholic point of view so just know that, k. Thanks, enjoy. J
“Daydream, I fell asleep beneath the flowers for a couple of hours on a beautiful day...” The lyrics of Lupe Fiasco can scarcely describe my feelings after seeing the incredible wonders that lie within the walls of Vatican City...
As we arrived in ?'Roma’ at about midnight, my mind flourished with curiosity. Rome has been the city I have most anticipated because for me, it has the most controversial history of another city in Italy. It is said that Rome was discovered by the two brothers Romulus and Remus which begins its very controversial and unique biblical history. Rome’s history could be written as a novel itself, this city has witnessed more periods of change than our country has states. Rome was founded by the brothers; The Great Roman Empire resided within its city limits, famous sculptors, painters, architectures all created masterpieces here...There are countless things that Rome is noted for, however, there are two places most commonly referenced in the city, The Vatican and the Coliseum.
Today we visited The Vatican, the place where the Pope resides and where the new Pope is elected, the Sistine Chapel, which is a room inside The Vatican. What most people do not know, is Vatican City is its own country. It is an independent country that governs itself ?- within Rome. All that lies within the city is The Vatican, which occupies 44 acres of beautiful soil.
In laments terms, The Vatican is simply a large building that serves multiple, Catholic, purposes. The Vatican’s physical description is that of a castle. At seven o’clock this morning my teammates and I were belittled standing next to the massive walls that surround The Vatican, in past years these walls served as protection. The stone that makeup the walls, as well as the building, are tan and plain. While approaching the Vatican one would never guess the amazement that lies within.
Once in the Vatican, I found, that there are no limits to the possibilities of what a person might see there. Before actually entering the interior we walked outside to view part of the Gardens. There we were educated by our tour guide, about the history of the structure of the building as well as the beautiful artifacts that were distributed throughout the gardens in addition to the interior. The gardens were amazing, walking from blackened stone and stained brick that make up most of the streets in Italy to standing atop a walk way with nothing but the beauty of nature beneath my feet was unreal. I felt like I was Peter Pan, sleeping in my bed then waking and taking a magical trip to Never-Neverland where I would see things I could not imagine...
Within the Vatican there were patio like places which lead into the actual rooms and halls of the building, the patios were decorated with items that had been collected by different Popes. The decorations consisted of statues and coffins -that did not look like coffins at all, instead they looked like monstropolous marble bath tubs. The statues were so life like they resembled real human beings covered in cement. Some of the floors in the patios as well as within the halls and rooms where extracted from wealthy homes in the middle ages. Most of the floors we walked upon were extracted mosaic pieces or recycled marble. * Mosaic pieces are constructed from tiny colored stones that are placed one-by-one into cement, like a puzzle being glued together piece by piece. Mosaic pieces can be created for paintings or they can serve as different wall or floor decorations. After about 30 minutes of walking around the interior of the building we finally entered.
Once inside, the real ?'daydreaming’ sensation set in. The only approach that seems relevant for a way of description of what we witnessed within the walls of the Vatican is fantasy. Peter Pan - Neverland, Disneyland, imagine if those places were actually real. Try and imagine what that would do to your imagination as a child...kind of hard huh? The result would seem to be unreal. Well that imaginary feeling is how I felt when being inside these ancient walls. I was suffocated with beauty, my mind was tantalized by the impossible, and my eyes were teased with truths or possibly lies, I honestly do not know.
((* When I say “room” I don’t mean like a bedroom, picture a room in a castle in a movie, long, beautiful, extravagant...))
Walking into the map room began this unsettling stir in my mind. The men that thought these things and then painted these ideas were so far ahead of their time. (It’s funny, because I’ve heard that statement so many times in school, but I never really grasped the trueness of the statement until now, after I’ve witnessed it for myself.) The detail of each piece, I can’t even imagine the amount of time it took to paint one map, let alone 25 of them... plus paint each piece of the ceiling, the wall, and the floor...words cannot describe the images I’m attempting to depict. I almost feel like I’m ruining it by even trying (oh well, I gotta do it). Anyway...the map room. It’s amazing. I HIGHLY recommend seeing it.
(Gosh this is getting kind of long) So after the maps room, we had a choice to see the apartments that were in the Vatican where people once stayed (like guests of the Pope or maybe where Michelangelo stayed while he painted, I didn’t catch that part ((haha)) sorry) or our other option was to go straight to the Sistine Chapel (the Sistine Chapel is the exact location of the election for the new Pope). Because we have our final game today and we had already been on our feet for quite some time, Coach B thought it was best to skip the apts. and continue straight to the chapel (good call).
Before entering the chapel, we were briefed on the paintings we were about to see, our tour guide let us know we would have a limited amount of time in the actual Chapel. After the briefing I still couldn’t actually picture what I was going to be seeing, I mean I’ve seen pictures but... I just didn’t know what to really expect. Walking into the chapel was dark, there was very little exterior light (I think to preserve the paint) but the work was still visible and remarkable. I didn’t realize Michelangelo had painted himself in the final judgment, he depicted himself at age 64 and it was only his skin, for it was implied he was skinned alive (interesting). There were many other paintings throughout the Chapel, many famous ones were on the ceiling such as, when God created Adam and Eve as well as when Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden.
“... I wonder if it knows what the world is keeping up both sleeves while he lay there dreaming...” (Lupe Fiasco) (Okay, so I’m not even Catholic, however, where I’m from ((New Mexico)) ((((big ups to the 10BLK!!!)))) Catholicism is heavily prevalent so I loosely “know” the religion + after reading the Di Vinci Code my mind was captivated with the idea of the novel, that all that has been taught to Catholics may or may not be true.) Anyhow, my point is this, after seeing the rooms, the walls, the paintings...I feel even more intrigued. The feeling of almost solving a mystery...its right there, is this all true, what is the world keeping from me, from you, from us? Was there a man named Jesus that proved the statement true: Impossible is nothing. The paintings told a story, I saw it today, I “read” it with my own eyes...is it true...or was it all a dream?