Yesterday, we walked over to the Vatican only to find that the museum was closed, and went to Basilica di San Pietro since we were there. It was mobbed, not really all that interesting, and full of fucking tourists. (12/25 note: One exception: Pope Alexander VII's beautiful monument, by Bernini) Went to the Vatican Treasury museum since it was there. It might have been a nice exhibit, except it was also mobbed, jammed full of people. Getting out of St. Peter’s was like being in a herd of 400 cattle getting out of a bread box sized hole in a fence. Ugh. Our other goal for Vatican City was to send postcards by the faster Vatican mail (supposed to be much faster than Italian mail) The first machine wouldn’t take our money, and the other one ate it without giving stamps. I was done. FUCK the Vatican, get me the hell out of this goddam place.
(Oh, and did I mention that as we were wandering around in St. Peters, we looked up at the mass going on and realized it was being given by the newly installed Pope? I don’t know if that had to do with the mob factor, as I don’t know that it was announced anywhere.)
Next thought was to get on a tour bus that would take us down Appia Antica (the ancient road) where we could get on and off at our own leisure to see the many ancient sights and catacombs. My mom really wanted to see catacombs, and I was interested in a few of the stops. So we took a taxi to Termini to catch this bus, but the operators were totally stupid and useless, so I decided that I would get us to a goddam catacomb somehow, in spite of these useless tourist things. Took a subway to a bus (didn’t really even know where we were going, but we figured we’d go until we’d see something and figure out where to get off) to a Catacombs (St. Callixtus), the first catacomb built. It was interesting, but not great. All the remains had been removed already. After some public transit adventure we found ourselves back at our apartment. Later in the evening, we even got hot water. Have I mentioned eyetalians are stupid? I mean, the hot water heater is attached to a switch. The switch is not marked at all, and it is placed between the light switch and the fan switch, but of which you flip on and off when you enter and exit the bathroom. The guy showing the apartment said the switch didn’t do anything. Why the fuck would you DO that?!?!?!?
Friday morning: resolved: we will see that goddam Vatican Museum, whether they like it or not. Still haven’t figured why it was closed Thursday. Bus to Vatican-- omigod, the line is like a mile long, literally. Obnoxious people everywhere, but t move quickly. That’s bad. Why? Because it means that they are just letting everybody in, all at once, just pack ‘em in like cattle. And that’s how it was. This was the WORST managed museum I have ever visited in my life. The litany of complaints will have to come later, but let’s just say fucking miserable. Great art, yeah, some of it, a few pieces I even got to enjoy, but FUCK THE VATICAN. Fuck their museum, fuck their crappy basilica, fuck the cafes there, fuck their museum, fuck their post office stamp machines.
After the Vatican Museum, we were both miserable and had a half-day to kill, so we grabbed a bus to Piazza Navona for lunch (sat in a room by ourselves quietly while the crowds enjoyed the sunshine outside), and then bused up to see the National Etruscan Museum at the Villa Giulia (the one at the Vatican was closed, in one of the many disappointments there). That was interesting, but too much, as by this point, we were both too tired. Took a grueling train/underground/bus trip home, and now we’re both utterly exhausted, and happy to be going home soon.
Rome really hasn’t been that good to us, and anyway, we’re tired and miss our boyfriends. The neighborhood we’re staying in is actually quite cute and lively; twisting lanes and trattorias with bands (stand up bass, accordion , singing, sometimes a guitar) playing for money in the many small piazzas/campi. Were we not so exhausted, this may have been tolerable, but now our legs and spirits have given out, and our feet and hearts are sore for a warm batch and a warm hug from our boys. I’ll need a vacation to recover from this trip.