Thursday, January 04, 2007

Italia Rome - I

6 days, 20 hours of travel, 3 missing bags, 2 wonders of the Medieval world, several new kinds of pizzas and dozens of lingering moments. That's how I would sum up the trip to Italy.

Italy has been a place which has captured the imagination of many a people. Some of the world's most famous monuments. (If u haven't heard about the Colosseum, u've probably been living under a rock...go n watch Gladiator for God sake). There were many things in my mind when I was planning the trip and along with those a secret fear… Will it be as beautiful as I expect it to be?? It would be a shame to come out of it thinking 'it's good but I expected more' (I will enlist one such experience in Italy later).

Now, u might have heard many people say that Italy is a lot like India. We knew how right they were when the flight landed in Milan without the check-in luggage. I as a thumb rule travel light when on vacation and don't check-in anything for intra Europe travels. But the rest of the people weren't so lucky. What resulted was an awefully long wait for the luggage and an even longer in the line to register missing bags. Apparently half the flight's luggage was missing. The next thing we did was catch a shuttle to reach the city center using the shuttle bus which plies every 20 mins or so (This is the cheapest way to reach the city center. Ticket €5). Malpensa airport is a mere 48 kms from the city center so the shuttle took another hour. All this ensured that we just had time to grab a bite at the Milan central railway station and board the train for Rome. All the plans to see the
Duomo di Milano went down the drain. Ah, what a beginning!!!

The better part of the journey was spent sleeping so I won't comment on how beautiful the countryside was. 4 hrs and 45 mins later we were in Rome Central station. The delay can be attributed to
Tren Italia. Did I hear someone say another similarity? :) Anyways we decided to cool off our heels that night and attack Rome the following morning. The missing baggage, the wait n the effort to explain the Italian lady at the reception, who spoke no english, that we were expecting luggage the next day took its toll I guess.

The next morning after a hearty Italia breakfast of croissants, butter, cheese, honey and a lovely cappucino we were off. First up - Musei Vaticani & Cappella Sistina. Here lie some of Michelangelo's greatest works like The Last Judgement and Histories of the Genesis (which adorns the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel).

The Vatican Museums displays work from the extensive collection of the Roman Catholic Church. Pope Julius II founded the museums in the 16th century. It consists of the Gregorian Egyptian Museum, Gregorian Etruscan Museum, Sistine Chapel, Raphael's Rooms, Pinacoteca and the Ethnological Missionary Museum, the most famous being of course the Sistine Chapel. Tickets cost €12 per head. The Sistine Chapel is such an important and popular historic place that it has a swarm of people in it. Its fame rests on its architecture, which evokes the Temple of the Old Testament, its decoration, frescoed throughout by the greatest Renaissance artists, including Michelangelo whose ceiling is legendary, and its purpose as a site of papal religious and functionary activity, notably the conclave, at which a new Pope is selected.

The Sistine Chapel is named after Pope Sixtus IV and was built at the end of the 16th century. His nephew Pope Julius II asked Michelangelo to paint the ceiling of the chapel. From 1508 -1512 he painted the ceiling all the time lying on his back. His paintings show the scenes from the old n new testament. Instead of the 12 figures of the apostles that the Pope had suggested Michelangelo ended up painting more than 3000. The ceiling was unveiled on October 31, 1512, and the whole world came running to see what Michelangelo had done and certainly it was such to make everyone speechless with astonishment. Central to the ceiling are nine scenes from the Book of Genesis of which the Creation of Adam is the best known. God is depicted as a bearded old man with His arm wrapped around a female figure, normally interpreted as Eve, who is not yet created and waits in heaven to be given an earthly form. God's right arm is outstretched to impart the spark of life from his own finger into that of Adam, whose left arm is extended in a pose mirroring God's. The ceiling can be better understood with the help of the below diagram.

Dr. Frank Lynn Meshberger of St. John's Medical Center in Anderson, Indiana believes that the famous 'Creation of Adam' panel contains an image that has been misunderstood for half a millenium - a brain that symbolizes God bestowing intellect on man.(more...)

More than 20 years later he was asked to paint The Last Judgement. The Last Judgment is a depiction of the second coming of Christ and the apocalypse. It took 5 years to complete. The work is massive and spans the entire wall behind the altar of the Sistine Chapel. When it was unveiled in 1541, the Pope Paul III’s MC, Biagio da Cesena, was upset to see a caricature of himself in the painting. During the five years of work this guy had bothered Michelangelo so much that he decided to paint him in the caricature of Minos – Judge of the underworld. (The guy with the snake around him in the bottom right corner). In the painting Michelangelo shows himself as a limp skin held by St Bartholomew near the cloud (The saint is just near the left foot of Christ).

(Photo source:

From 1981-94 the Chapel was restored. This work was sponsored by a Japanese TV channel, Nippon TV, in return for the exclusive media rights for the ceiling.
Video of the Chapel:-


Sakshi said...

Awesome.. Awesome.. Awesome.
As Always :P
Now let me go and read it once more :)
My fav pick (despite Michalengelo) is still the staircase one .

Anonymous said...

Whoa.. Italy sounds fun man.. Mujhe bhi jaana hai!!!

New year wishes man.. =)

Anonymous said...

Wonderful Post :)

hum bhi italy ghum aaye ..tumhare saath :)

nice imformative post :)

Chitrangada said...


why i m annoy here :O

Anonymous said...

Uber ponage!

Buy Generic Viagra said...

Taking a tip to Italy wads the best option you got, because it's an incomparable place, specially because the structure of the buildings there, I was really amazed with that.