Vatican Museum

As I mentioned yesterday, while in Rome we visited the world’s worst museum: the Vatican Museum. Someone on the internet needs to be the voice of reason when it comes to that place, and I am making myself that person. Unless you LOOOOOOOVE art (like, it’s your only passion in life), do not ever, ever, ever go to the Vatican Museum (unless it’s cold outside and there are very few other tourists).

I don’t like museums in general. I prefer not to spend money to look at things I don’t care about. But the thing about the Vatican Museum is that it’s the only way to get to the Sistine Chapel. You have to go through the entire Vatican Museum first and the Chapel is the final exhibit. You can’t go to Rome and not see the Sistine Chapel, right? The cost of the museum is $24, so we paid our $48 and entered the museum.

After your enter, you take an escalator up to the first exhibit with a swarm of other tourists. The second I reached the top of the escalator I regretted my decision to go into the museum. It was hot and crowded, and I despise being uncomfortable. But at that point I’d paid my $24 and I wanted to see the Sistine Chapel at the end, so I pressed onward. It only got worse from there.

The deeper we got into the museum, the more people there were, and the hotter it got. At most points there was always another tourist touching me from some angle because we were all packed in so tight. At that point there was no way out other than through the Sistine Chapel at the end. I drank the 40oz of water I had in my purse trying to cool off and distract myself from the horror, but that only made me have to use the bathroom, and there wasn’t one. No exit. No bathroom.

You’d think I could just rush along to the end, but when you are packed into a building with thousands of other people, you can’t go anywhere unless EVERYONE goes, and you can’t move faster than the everyone else is moving. Peter became concerned about my mental state at that point, so we pushed and shoved our way toward the Chapel as quickly as we could.

My plan was to make a beeline to the exit and soon as we entered the Chapel. We turned the corner to enter the chapel, and I am sure (and Peter agrees) that I have never seen that many people in an enclosed building of that size in my entire life.

Meltdown ensued.

Have you ever watched cattle or sheep be herded through a small opening in a coral? That is exactly what it was like. As more tourists flooded in the door, other tourists were pushed out the exit on the other side of the Chapel out of necessity. We were like animals. It was terrible. It was hot. It was sweaty. People were touching me on all sides. My feet hurt. My head hurt. I had to use the bathroom. And did I mention people were touching me on all sides? It was terrible.

Now let me describe the Sistine Chapel. It is nothing but a four-sided barn-like room with murals on the walls and ceiling. It is NOT worth it. I would have been much happier to have my $24 in my pocket and to look at pictures of the Sistine Chapel on google. In fact, I would have rather paid $24 to avoid having to experience the stupid Sistine Chapel.

I’m done with museums for a while. Maybe forever.

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10 Responses to Vatican Museum

  1. Lesli says:

    My dad said it was like Disneyworld for Catholics. Really hot, crowded and lots of lines. He obviously doesn’t have a high opinion of disneyworld.

  2. Linz says:

    This is why I hate museums. I can’t stand to feel someone breathing on me. Yuck. I feel your pain….and how disgusting you must have felt afterward.

  3. JM says:

    Visit in March next time. No lines, no crowds, pleasant temperature, just hall monitors shushing the few visitors who lingered too long in the Chapel. But, between you and me…I was underwhelmed by the Chapel. If I had of endured the prelude you described, I would have had the exact reaction!

  4. anna says:

    I don’t think anyone really loves, loves, loves museums. They just lie and say they do because it makes them sound cultured. Sorry for the rotten experience, but I really enjoyed this post.

  5. Heather says:

    That stinks. I’m so sorry you had such a bad experience. I felt agitated just reading about it!

    I visited Rome in early April. It was a drizzly day, so there were few tourists. I was just there with my mom who pointed out all sorts of temple symbolism in the Sistine (since she had, of course, read up on it for a few weeks before our visit). It was nearly silent and wide open. She told me the mythology or scripture stories behind the scenes on the ceiling. It’s one of my favorite memories from Rome. Hopefully some day you can have that kind experience there, when you’re not pregnant, hot, or overcrowded.

  6. Paige says:

    Oh my gosh, I know exactly how you feel! We felt this way at Harrod’s in London (not a museum, I know, but similar circumstances). So many things to see, but the crowd and the feet-tiredness and the thirst and the needing to find a bathroom and the bustling and the heat just makes things unbearable — I think Clayton and I both had a meltdown at the same time which is not pretty.

    We try to avoid overly touristy crowded spots like the plague as often as possible. What is it about crowded areas that makes people lose all sense of manners, consideration for others, and just common decency? Sorry y’all had to experience that!

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