|Wish I had one of these at home!|
We discovered this last morning that there was another coffee machine on the other side of the hot food buffet.
We met Carlotta at the Vatican. Brad had passed out special headsets for the Vatican so we were wearing a blue one with our orange!
|Sculpture in ticketing area|
We went through security and then Carlotta gave us our tickets.
|Art even on the tickets!|
We then proceeded up escalators to go outside where she spent time telling us about what we would be seeing and some history.
|Dome of St. Peter’s Basilica|
|Our Vatican selfie|
|Gardens from this courtyard|
|Court of the Pine|
|Sphere within Sphere Sculpture|
When we entered the museums we first went through a hall of sculptures which I believe is named The Gallery of the Candelabra.
|The Gallery of the Candelabra|
|I wish I could remember what Carlotta told us about these pieces|
An exclusive experience for Insight Vacations is being able to go up and down the Bramante staircase so we headed that way.
|A beautiful staircase along the way (Not Bramante)|
The Bramante staircase is unique in that it doesn’t have stairs. It was built to allow Pope Julius II to enter his private residence while still in his carriage.
|On our way up the staircase|
|The view down from the top|
The view from there was incredible!
|Mars of Todi sculpture|
|Frescoes with scenes from old Testament|
|Hall of the Chariot|
Next we went through the Gallery of Tapestry. Carlotta showed us how they are not just valuable for their beauty and age, but because there is gold thread throughout many if not all.
|Gallery of Tapestry|
Next was the gallery of maps. It contains a series of painted maps of Italy based on drawings by friar and geographer Ignazio Dante.
|Beautiful ceiling in Gallery of Maps|
|Just one of the many Regional maps|
I must have been having overload because I didn’t take any other map photos.
|Tapestry depicting The Last Supper|
We had 20 minutes to go to the restroom and visit the Sistene Chapel. Carlotta is not allowed to explain anything to us in there. The room was unbelievably crowded and HOT. Apparently, the air conditioning wasn’t working today.
|Public domain photo of Last Judgement|
We were glad when it was time to leave and head to St. Peter’s Basilica.
Michelangelo’s Pieta is behind glass now due to an attack some years ago.
|Air vent for the tombs underneath the basilica|
|Monument to Sweden’s Queen Christina|
|Alter of St. Jerome|
|Mosaic reproduction of Raphael’s ‘deathbed’ painting|
|Pope Leo XII statue|
After exiting we had a brief moment to take pictures of the facade and the Swiss Guard.
|I understand tradition but these uniforms!|
We had an hour for lunch and sat down once again with Mary Ann and Dave for an enjoyable meal. I had water, Steve had coke and we shared a tasty
We found Brad at the meeting spot and walked to the Vatican bus parking area where we were reunited with Gaetano. It was a long walk but we were going to have plenty of time to rest on the way to Assisi.
chatting with our tour mates.
The scenery along the journey was breathtaking. Little did I know it was going to get better!
We arrived at the parking area at Assisi and walked up to our hotel, Hotel Giotti. It was pretty steep but so picturesque. Living in a hilly area paid off as we really didn’t struggle going up and down the hills.
|Panorama from Hotel Patio|
After taking some pictures from the lobby patio we met the group outside the lobby at 4:30 for the short walk to the St. Francis Basilica with our local guide, Mario.
|outside St. Francis Basilica|
Unfortunately no pictures are allowed inside the Basilica. St. Francis’s Basilica is in Assisi because it is the city where he was born (and died). Construction started in the 13th century and it comprises two churches identified as the Upper Church and the Lower Church.
We first entered the lower church which was the older portion and had beautiful ancient frescoes. One of the most interesting things about this tour is seeing the progression of artistic techniques via the artworks.
We took off for the walk back to the hotel on what I thought was the right street but wasn’t. Walked back to hotel but went up wrong street. Getting lost in a city this beautiful was not a hardship.
I had my daily gelato along the way (pistachio today) and we eventually ran into Dave and Mary Ann who were in the same predicament. Together we navigated back to the hotel.
|Temple of Minerva|
We had a welcome reception hosted by insight prior to dinner. Enjoying a glass of red wine, with the incredible view and chatting with new friends was quite an experience.
This was the first time we had butter served with the bread which was welcomed by all at our table. The round table included the Steele family (Diane, Ed, Bethany and Kevin), Kay from Sydney and Pat and George from Philly.
Then we were served roasted chicken, roasted potatoes and spinach. All was very good except the spinach.
Last we had a apple chocolate torte. It was good but a weird combination. It was nearly 10 by this time and we were ready for bed.