The plan was to get to the Vatican Museums (the only way to see the Sistine Chapel) before they opened at 8:45 am. It would have worked only if Italy had not decided to go to work today. I mean, we had to wait for three trains to pass before we could get anywhere near the platform! We finally made it there by about 9:00 am, with a short 10 minute line, and the hoofed it to the Sistine Chapel.
Yep, the price has gone up since I was here last, to 12 from 9€. And everytime they change the routes around the place a little. Now, it seems, there are three different ways to get to the Sistine ...
I've been here a few times before. I've always been more captivated by the Last Judgement, it's deep blue and frenetic activity a stark contrast to the ceiling. This time, I was mainly thinking about the momentous events of last April. The place wasn't too crowded, and it was fun going through Ms. Mason's guide and indentifying all the frescoes. [And, of course, I heartily recommend that everyone see (again) The Agony and the Ecstasy.] The only sour note? The officious security guards who periodically bellowed "Silence Please!" and "Shhhh!" like this was a pack of schoolchildren. Most annoying.
Wandered around a little bit afterwards, enjoying the breathtakingly beautiful day [Hey Co-ray, you were right! You brought the cold, dank, grey, windy weather with you from Britain!]
Here's a view of the dome of St. Peter's from a terrace near the Vatican Museums.
I forget what that go-go gadet globe thing is in the middle of the courtyard. Anyway, it provides an interesting contrast to the renaissance and baroque stuff around!
A view of the city from the Vatican palace. If you look carefully towards the left, you can see the dome of the Pantheon reflecting the sunlight.
Here's the ceiling in the Map library. You can't see the crowds below. We stopped for some cappuccino, and then went back to the Stanze Raphael. The Disputation of the Sacrament is one of my favorites. It's amazing how much more crowded the place got in an hour or so! To return, we had to duck through the Sistine again, and this was probably the shortest time any visitor has spent in the Chapel! We stopped for another cappuccion -- which yours truly promptly spilled all over his almost brand new white shirt. Arrgh. I didn't unzip my jacket all day after that ... :)