I haven't been to Rome yet, but it's been on my list for quite some time now. I think the reason I haven't gone yet is because I'm afraid it won't live up to my expectations. How could those not be sky scraper high after reading the Da Vinci Code?
Come on, admit it, that book made you want to explore every corner of the Vatican as well! You would have to be able to take your time for it, of course. There's no fun in investigating when there are dozens of people around you doing the same.
Well, while researching Rome a bit (yes, I research destinations I've not yet set dates for) I came across a Vatican Museums tour that is held at night. Now that seems cool! Apparently, during this 2,5-hour tour a guide will take you were visitors normally can't go after closing hours, giving you both time and space to explore the museums. And the best part? No waiting lines.
Seeing and learning
I'd definitely need a guide to, well, guide me through the more than nine miles of corridors lined with treasures. My knowledge of ancient history and arts isn't that up to date and it would be a shame to see the huge collections of paintings, maps, religious arts, Greek and Roman sculptures and so much more without really knowing what they're about.
Sure, I'd marvel at it all while roaming through the halls and galleries that used to serve as papal apartments or palaces, but I'd love to know what exactly I'd be marveling at as well.
Each museum features a collection of paintings, maps, religious art, tapestries, Greek and Roman sculpture, ancient Egyptian treasures, or portraits of popes and much more. In richly decorated and ornamental galleries that have served as papal apartments or palaces, you see the opulence that lies inside the Vatican. With , the museums are daunting in size and scope.
Maps, maps and maps
What I'd definitely want to take my time for is the Gallery of Maps. I love all things ‘mappy': globes, scratch maps, paper maps… All the map items I have at home are based on the world being round though and so I'd love to have a look at how people drew the world when it was still believed to be flat.
Viewing the work of master painters
Another thing I wouldn't want to miss is Raphael's work. I've never seen anything from him before while he is known as the master of frescoes. At the Vatican Museums there are four rooms dedicated to his work, including his famous “School of Athens” masterpiece in which he incorporated portraits of da Vinci, Michelangelo and Caravaggio.
A last thing I wouldn't want to miss while visiting the Vatican? The Sistine Chapel of course.