Vatican City

Submitted by Ben on Sat, 06/13/2009 - 20:46

[Note: the videos referenced here are now in an album of photos and videos.]

We arrived in Rome at 9:50 AM on Saturday, May 30, but then we waited 30 minutes for our luggage and another hour figuring out how to report the luggage missing, so we didn't leave the airport until about 11:30.  We took the Leonardo Express train to the main train station, grabbed a quick lunch of panini and cappuccino, and took the Metro to the neighborhood of our hostel, One Step from St. Peter's.  We quickly checked in and ran to the Vatican Museum in time for our reservation... and we were fortunate to have a reservation, because the lines were quite long!

We took more videos than just those below, but they were essentially duplicates of videos other people had already taken and shared on YouTube, so what you see below are just the videos that nobody else had shared before!

Note that Frommer's guide and other guides we consulted said that cameras are not allowed in the museum, nor in St. Peter's Basilica.  This does not appear to be the case anymore.  The only place in the Vatican where cameras were not allowed was in the Sistine Chapel, and as you can see from the proliferation of amateur photos and videos available online, tourists openly flout that rule.  We obeyed it, so we have no footage of the Sistine Chapel.

Hall of Heads

OK, so it's not actually called the Hall of Heads, but it should be, because there are well over a hundred marble heads in this one hallway, along with full-size statues. It's one of the first rooms you enter when touring the Vatican Museum, so it gives a pretty impressive first look at the scope of the collection.  Any one of these sculptures in an American museum would be the prize of their collection.

Lacoön and His Sons

An ancient Roman marble sculpture of Laocoön and his sons being attacked by serpents.

Vatican Museum Galleries

A zoom shot through just one row of galleries, in an attempt to show the size of the place.  Again, any one of these rooms in any other museum would be the highlight of their collection, but here it's just another room.

Sculpture with Moiré patterns

I unfortunately did not record the name of this contemporary sculpture or its artist. If anyone can provide either piece of information, please do! The sculpture is stationary - the dark spots are Moiré patterns that appear to move because the camera is moving slightly up and down during the recording.

Descending the Spiral Exit Ramp

The entrance and exit to the Vatican Museum are about 4 stories below the actual museum (which is on a hill), so you enter via a long featureless spiral ramp (or take the escalator) and exit by another, much more ornate ramp. This ramp is supported entirely by the walls (has no central support) and gets much steeper as you descend by way of more frequent steps, which should be clear in the video. (Each of the steps also slopes, which is why people have to walk so carefully.) It's also a double helix, so that traffic could enter and exit at the same time, though only one of the helices is in use due to the separate (newer?) entrance.