Sunday, July 20, 2008
The "Sixteen Chapel" as my husband, Sarge, calls it, is a small building tucked in the corner of the Vatican in Rome, Italy. It is five centuries old, but really doesn't look a day over three hundred years. It was originally a private chapel for the pope, so we're lucky they let anyone in. I don't think the Catholic Church needs the money, but they want to share what really belongs to all of humanity.
The pews have been removed so more people can crowd inside, and I mean wall to wall people. The few bench seats that remain are scattered against the walls and are a valuable commodity. When someone gets up, another takes his place within a micro-nanosecond.
There's absolutely no talking allowed inside the chapel, but you hear in hushed library tones how awestruck people are by its beauty . No photos are permitted, either, but I did see a guy sneaking a picture. One of the guards standing on a platform overlooking the crowd -- like we were criminals herded in a prison yard -- spotted him and quietly escorted him out, I suppose, to the death chamber, for we never saw him again.
If you crane your neck, you see Michelangelo's ceiling painted with nine scenes from the Book of Genesis, but contrary to popular belief, he was not the only artist to have worked magic here with the stroke of his hand. There are frescoes on the walls painted by various other artists, including Botticelli, one of my favorites. All of their works come together to create a solemn sense of grace and salvation.
My ever vigilant Sarge spots a seat and and quickly whisks me into it. I sit there with head bowed, and silently pray in the Sistine Chapel, #55 on my Bucket List.
Posted by MsALWalker at 6:58 AM