I went to see the Pope’s house. I’m not a big fan of the guy, but I heard it was quite something, and it was.
The tour started with the Vatican art museum, which is submerged in a tide of people. It pushes you along ceaselessly at half walking speed. Even at that hasty speed, it takes 3 hours to see the permanent exhibition. Every wall and ceiling is covered by something impressive. The mosaics on the floors weren’t bad either. It’s like a treadmill of masterworks. After that, you stagger out in front of St. Peter’s Basilica dizzied by sensory overload.
It’s a fantastically ornate monster’s lair. It’s a little sad to think that this is where all the marble missing from the ancient Roman sights went. I was certainly disappointed when I showed up at the Pantheon, and instead of it being full of awesome Hellenistic gods, it had been retrofitted as a church and was full of saints instead. Bah! Doesn’t Italy have enough churches already?
That said, I was tickled to see one basilica with coin operated machines controlling the lights for the artwork. If you want to see the sights you have to use coin operated enlightenment.