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Rome and the Vatican

I have to say that religious traditions in any country are a fascinating portrait of the local culture and a jumble of natives and tourists all scrambling towards the same goal. Italy, of course, is no different.

Rome's Vatican Museum has miles of art galleries, celestial ceilings and the Sistine Chapel.

The Vatican Museum has miles of art galleries and celestial ceilings to view before you get to the masterpiece of Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel.

After we visited the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel last Sunday, we joined a huge crowd in the courtyard where we all waited to receive a blessing from the Pope, who appears at a little window.

The Pope has achieved both celestial and celebrity status here as his face graces every kind of trinket imaginable: ash trays, boxer shorts, calendars, beer mugs, coffee mugs and a multitude of rosaries that he evidently blessed.

Who would have guessed that the Pope was so enthusiastic about cigarettes, alcohol and underwear?

***** Click on the words Sistine Chapel to see a utube video. It’s an amazing bit of technology that you would never see in person, as you would never be alone in the chapel, unless you’re royalty or the Pope. It is always very crowded and of course you can’t see Michelangelo’sartwork close up as you can here.

This is especially spectacular if you have a large high-definition screen! There are too many details to view on an iPhone.