Due Settimana in Italia
An Apolitical Travelogue
by Eric S. Piotrowski
Day Five: The Vatican't
On our last day in Rome, we rose determined to see St. Peter's Cathedral and/or the Sistine Chapel. But when we arrived, we found enormous lines at each; our fatigue from previous days made us disinclined to wait in long queues. We did, however, snap a pic of the Vatican guards in their cute floppy-hat costumes.
Instead, we hung out in St. Peter's Square and took some pictures. Lots and lots of tourists everywhere, as well as vendors hocking "real" Gucci handbags and D&G belts.
In a way, not seeing the Sistine Chapel was a bit of a disappoinment. ("You went to Rome and didn't see the Sistine Chapel!?") But on the other hand, it's hard to escape the feeling that it's something one does mostly because it's something one is expected to do. I mean, I'd like to see the beautiful artwork in that tremendous place, but I also enjoyed just hanging out and looking at the buildings in the square. How much of our vacations are planned with a mind toward what one simply must do and see?
Moving away from the square, we headed for Il Museo Castel Sant'Angelo. Out front, a number of people stood along the walkway, dressed in very unusual costumes (one was clad entirely in aqua blue including his/her face holding a lamp like the Statue of Liberty), remaining perfectly still. Each had a can for donations. Silliest panhandlers I've ever seen.
The castle had some interesting items (it contains the vault of Hadrian's remains), but much of its offerings were a mish-mash of random artworks. One exhibit was of Renato Carosone, whose style is somewhat similar to Keith Haring. The center of the castle houses this funky angel statue.
We headed back early in the day because D was tired and my cough wasn't going away. We agreed to take it easy for a while and take a day off in Venice. Back on the Metro (after a few abortive attempts at shopping), Diane perfected The Clutch to prevent a repeat of yesterday's pilfering.
We searched in vain for a restaurant recommended by the guidebook and ate instead at a nice spot whose menu was all in English. We sat next to a couple (Diane guessed they were Greek) who fed each other forkfuls of pasta and engaged in various public displays of affection throughout the meal. Hey, we're the honeymooners here knock that crap off!