Bacon and Eggs in Rome…and Signore M.L.B. Simoni!

Posted on April 28, 2011


Dear Sistine Chapel,

Yes, I finally graced the Vatican with my presence this morning! It was incredible and I got to take many photos which was great but the only place in the entire museum that you cannot take any photos is of course inside the chapel. I only had to wait in line outside for less than ten minutes but we all know how impatient I am. I almost walked away but then listened to Alicia Keyes to settle down and remain in line. The Vatican is something to see and I cannot believe that I took this long to actually go. There were ridiculous amounts of people and cameras flashing and group tours in every language and many languages that I have never even heard. The Vatican is set up like a giant maze that everyone must walk through a certain way and direction. People push and bump into you the entire way and no one excuses themselves. I moved with the crowd and had trouble stopping for photos since the mass of people literally pushed you like a conveyor belt through the stairs and corridors. The last tour is obviously the Sistine so after about an hour and half of wondering when I was going to get to witness this grand masterpiece I finally stumbled in some tiny doors and looked up 60 feet to the famous ceiling. There are no words for the effect that the colorful display did to me. There were about twenty guards telling us in multiple languages to not take pictures and watch our step and to keep moving! I finally slow down and stand in one place and am in a daze. I really couldn’t even move my feet but somehow I circled the entire space until I was stopped by a guard. He reminded me (in Italian) that I was in a church and to put my sweater on! I knew that I was supposed to but after being flushed through the door I forgot once I saw the work! I quickly put on my teal sweater and apologized. He nodded and gave me a silent thank you. I am unsure of the other artists who painted the walls but they were incredibly detailed and I swear they were 3-D! The large drapery looked so real and the “light” hit them so perfect it was as if they were moving with my each step. I didn’t want to leave this chapel so I might have stayed in for 5 minutes or 20 I really have no idea. I felt like it was the end of a movie and I didn’t want to get out of my seat in the theatre since the movie ended too fast. I never wanted this moment to end! When I took Art history in college I learned and studied many of the sculptures and works of art that I saw today. I remember being impressed that one of my professors took all of her photos herself of the art and turned them into slides for lecture. I remember her going on and on and on and on about the “presence” of work but never understood until today what she meant! The fact that Michelangelo  over 5,000 square feet of frescoes on the ceiling and never had before done a frescoe even once is the real amazement. He painted all while on a shady scaffold and it took ONLY 4 years to finish!? No words! People may think that he was lying on his back painting away but he was actually standing at an angle then bent backwards and had to paint over his head! Awkward position that would indeed make his back, arms and neck ache with pain but that would be a chiropractor dream to fix…sadly, he claims that after this masterpiece he permanently impaired his vision. The ceiling measures about 143 feet long by 43 feet wide and was well worth the 15 euro that had me waiting in line for that short ten minutes! I had to do a little research but I do remember taking Art history a while back and knew he had a long ass name! I am positive that many people don’t know Michelangelo’s full name: Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni! I found another interesting fact that he died in 1564 at the age of 88 and he was the first Western artist to have his biography published while he was still alive.  Michelangelo was more of a sculptor than a painter but took on the project nonetheless. I like that originally he was commissioned to paint 12 Apostles but turned the Pope down. The Pope then offered that he could paint anything he wanted so he landed on the 9 Biblical scenes portrayed on the gorgeous ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. I also read that although he had multiple assistants throughout this masterpiece he hired and fired so often that not one person could ever “claim” any rights to his work! Clever he was.

 Today I stood near The Thinker by Auguste Rodin and took the photo. I didn’t realize that this was held here at the Vatican! It is not very big at all either…maybe barely 3 feet tall? Laocoon and His Sons I was very excited to witness since this was one of my favorite sculptures that I studied. I remembered that the actual date was always unknown but assumed around 42-20 BC and that no one was ever sure if this was the original work or if it was a copy of an earlier sculpture. I think that it is interesting that it was thought to possibly be one giant piece of white marble but then later it was discovered that 7 pieces interlocked to create this massive sculpture. It is about 6 feet wide and 8 feet tall!  The story of Laocoon (sounds like La-oh-koh-on) is that he was warning his fellow Trojans against the wooden horse that was presented to his city by the Greeks. Virgil then gave him the famous line, “Do not trust the horse, Trojans/ Whatever it is , I fear the Greeks even when they bring gifts!” Hence, where the saying,”Beware of Greeks bearing gifts!” The Trojans did not listen to him so out of anger he threw a spear at the horse then either Athena or Poseidon (unsure facts) sent serpents to kill him and his two sons. I saw all the famous paintings by Giotto, Raphael, Leonardo Da Vinci, and Caravaggio. After rushing through the 54 galleries the reward in the end of the Sistine Chapel was better than any flavor of gelato that I have imagined.

It was near 2pm by the time that I got home to make myself lunch. My lower back hurt from all the walking and my converse were killing me slowly. My baby toes were red like little cherry tomatoes! Ughgh definitely not having pasta with ANYTHING tomato after seeing my poor little toes! I knew that I wanted pasta but wasn’t sure if I was ready to take on the idea of making carbonara. I saw that we had the ingredients so I said, “what the hell?” I  cut up some pancetta slices (with scissors!) and let it cook while I boiled my pasta. I cracked an egg and added pepper and a generous portion of parmesan to a small mixing bowl. Once the pasta was finished and my Italian bacon cooked but not crispy like “bacon” I added the pasta to my pan and poured my egg mix over it blending it together to form the “sauce”. I misplaced my serving bowl and overcooked my sauce so it turned out that I had “bacon and eggs” with pasta for lunch! It still tasted really good I just have to work on my timing and temperature I suppose…

What a day!


Posted in: When in Rome