I have been exceedingly blessed in this life to have seen many things and to have met many people and to have been many places.
Today we went to the Sistine Chapel, and the grease is right.
I was expecting it to be a small chapel, set off by itself, and for the two fingers touching to span the whole thing, but it’s not like that at all. It’s huge, and the two fingers are no bigger than anything else in there.
But it’s just stunning.
I’ve seen pictures, hundreds of pictures in hundreds of sizes, and they don’t do it justice.
The colors are so vibrant and even from however far it is to the floor, the detail is just incredible. It looks like the people are going to leap off the ceiling at you.
I have read The Agony and The Ecstasy, and I know Michaelangelo’s history, but I wasn’t prepared for what I saw. I just wasn’t.
When you get to the Vatican Museum, you walk through what seems like miles of galleries of statuary and tapestries and mummies (who knew?) and vestments, to the point where you think you’re never actually going to get to see the ceiling, like it’s all some big tease the Pope’s got going to keep you busy and off the street for a few hours.
The ceilings all the way through are works of art by other people – artists and architects and carpenters, and the floors are mosaics of what has to be billions of tiny pieces of stone and tile. Sometimes it’s just too much external stimuli.
But that Sistine Chapel, man, it was worth slogging through it all to get to just that one huge room.
Yesterday was exhausting. Grimace climbed to the top of the Duomo. I went to a yarn store that was like warehouse where you couldn’t touch. They brought out color books and swatch books and you told them what you wanted and they ran around gathering it up for you.
They don’t sell row counters here. I have no idea how they keep up with where they are.
When it was time to leave Florence, we went Santa Maria Novella and bought our train tickets and found our platform like good little Americans, only it was the wrong platform and we nearly went to Lucca. We missed the train to Rome, but apparently they’re used to that sort of thing, because they just gave us more tickets and sent us on our way.
In less felicitous news, we were supposed to move to another apartment at about 5 on Sunday, driven by the owner of this one, since we had to stay an extra day. We have not paid for the extra night.
I got an email this evening that we would need to check out Sunday morning at 9, and we were to take our SHEETS AND TOWELS AND LUGGAGE across Rome on the bus to the new apartment, and to please let her know that would be fine.
It is not fine.
I went and spoke with Cenzia, who owns the tabacchi we frequent, to ask her how to respond to this, since I’m a bit verklempt and am liable to go right through this keyboard and burn Alessandra with my fingertips.
She advised me to wait until cooler heads prevail and send her a note that we are on holiday and will be happy to check out at 9. And that we will not be transporting dirty laundry across Rome on a bus.
Meanwhile, Cenzia will call and see about another apartment for us elsewhere.
I tell you, I was fit to be tied.
But after all, I am in Rome, and we do have friends here who will help us.
No idea what’s on our plate for tomorrow. We’ve hit the high points and now we’re coasting, hanging out, checking out Rome.
Still damn lucky.