Arezzo: Day 12

Arezzo: Day 12

We began our first full day in Rome with a walk from our hotel to a museum attached to an old Franciscan church. This museum contained information about the history of Franciscan friars, the Cappucini, and such. After making our way through the museum, we entered the famous ossuary crypt of the Cappucini. This ossuary crypt reminded me of a narrow hallway with several rooms shooting off of the hallway; however, these rooms and the hallway itself were lined and decorated with the bones of Franciscan friars past. To me, it was the creepiest part of the trip, but it was also the most powerful experience in Italy, seeing the bones of men and women who had devoted their entire lives to Christ over the years. The air in this crypt felt so much heavier than air anywhere else for some reason. It may have been just me or the many candles’ fragrances, but that quality added to the creepiness.

Luckily, a much more lighthearted and touristy thing to do was next for us. We walked to the Spanish Steps, where we all took pictures for a hot minute. It blew me away how in walking the streets of Rome one can go from a narrow passageway in what seems like a neighborhood to a very open and grand space such as the Spanish Steps so quickly. From the Spanish Steps we walked to the famous Trevi Fountain, which was quite the structure. It is said that pictures don’t do a place justice, and that could not have been more accurate about the Trevi Fountain. I thought the sculptures were going to be much smaller than what they really were, and I could not have been more wrong. Again, we transitioned from a neighborhood street to this magnificent structure very quickly, and it took my breath away. The water in the fountain was unbelievably clear, and the sculptures in the wall behind it were equally memorable. The sheer size and detail of that wall full of sculptures felt like it should belong in an art gallery, let alone a public place.

We ate lunch outside of the Vatican, which, upon first sight, was astounding to see due to its size and grandeur. For entry, we had to walk all the way around the large city walls to security, which had become second nature to us at this point. From security, we walked around some of the courtyards inside the Vatican, and even saw some of the houses of permanent residents of Vatican City from the windows of the museum. I had never seen so many people crammed into one place before. Looking ahead through some of the grand hallways, it looked like a sea of people ahead of us. Then, we made it to the Sistine Chapel. Walking in, I noticed how quiet everyone became. It was so much to take in at one time, but I could not have been more awestruck by the walls and the ceiling covered on every inch by the handiwork of Michelangelo around 500 years ago. I found myself standing directly beneath the iconic painting of Adam and God almost touching, and I could not take my eyes off of that part of the ceiling for almost the entire fifteen minutes we were in the Sistine Chapel. I was so amazed that I was actually standing underneath one of the most iconic scenes in the history of art. That moment is definitely one I will never forget.

Next, we walked into St. Peter’s Basilica, which was impressively large. I recall walking into the basilica and being absolutely speechless due to the exceedingly high ceilings and the ornate columns, walls, paintings, you name it. Subtly tucked into the right corner from when I walked in was Michelangelo’s most famous La Pieta. Even behind a large glass pane I could make out every last detail, from the expression on Jesus’ face to the folds of Mary’s dress. A one hour-long walk from the Vatican and my favorite meal in Rome, at a restaurant called Alessio, marked the end of nothing short of an eventful day in Rome.

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