Tuesday, April 2, 2019

Tuesday at the Vatican

Today, along with an estimated 26,000 other people, The Rosenbergs visited Vatican City. Our tour guide, Vasco was incredible. He had an involved breadth of knowledge about every detail of each room, chapel, and artwork we visited. We learned about the Medicis and the Borgias and the Popes and the artists and the scandals and the propaganda and the every-everything. He imparted an intense amount of information during 3-1/2 hours.

The crowds shuffled through narrow hallways and staircases. Our small group followed our guide's red flag. At the three hour mark, we prepared to enter the Sistine Chapel. Vasco warned us - photos, video, and talking were all strictly forbidden in order to maintain the holy atmosphere of the chapel.

The shifting herd of people allowed through were waved into the center of the packed room by guards. Men and women jostled and shoved while craning their necks to take in Michelangelo's masterpiece. They whispered creating a low hiss. A guard yelled, "Silencio" into a microphone every thirty seconds.

Vaguely panicky as I became separated from Bob and Mr. Rosenberg, I felt faint from the heat of the swarm. Two elderly women made space for me on a bench along the wall. I leaned back against the cool tile and searched the faces in the large rectangular room that felt more like an airport security line than a chapel. At last, I stopped and remembered to lift my face to the ceiling.

It was then I felt it. Silencio.

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