Monday, January 26, 2009

Visting the Vatican

Had a wonderful visit to the Apostolic Signatura today.

Like all the Vatican buildings, it is very beautiful and so much better maintained than the Italian ones. Just the general air of well-kept calm and order are a contrast to the atmosphere of chaos and decay that seems to characterize life in Rome and Italy generally. When you go extra territoriale, you know instantly you are in another country. In Vatican buildings, you will never find the cracking plaster coming off the walls in patches, no graffiti, no little piles of garbage in the corners; the lifts all work smoothly; the steps are always swept and clean; the potted plants are all healthy and the staff are always nice and helpful.

Upon entering the building, which Archbishop Burke told me was built in the 1400s, one goes through the big fifteen foot high doors and turn right into a little office where you tell a chap in a uniform your reason for being there. I noted that he wore a matching pair of pins on his lapels with the keys of Peter.

In Vatican buildings, it is always worth looking at the ceilings.

This is just a little parlour, with 15th and 16th century portraits, where one can have a quiet chat.

The main hall from which all the libraries, conference rooms, parlours and offices branch. (Sorry about the fuzzy).

The ceiling of the entrance hall. (It's less fuzzy in real life).

Archbishop Burke: a very kindly and good and holy bishop.

The halls all decorated with Ancient Stuff.

Ancient Stuff, with Pekinese. The little dog belonged, I suppose, to the chap at the door.


Agellius said...

I enjoyed the pics, thanks!

Anonymous said...

That's not "The Vatican"! The Vatican is that little walled city attached to and including St Peter's that is perched atop the mons vaticanus. This little palace is one of the extra-territorial properties in the Campus Martius belonging to the Vatican City State.

Anonymous said...

Don't be silly. It's extra territoriale, which means it's the Vatican.

You need to make fewer distinctions. You'll be happier.

and are you drinking enough? You always get cranky when you don't drink enough.

Anonymous said...

Extraterritoriality is the state of being exempt from the jurisdiction of local law, though the place remains the sovereign territory of the guest country. Just like embassies. We don't call the British Embassy in Rome "Britain"; "Oh, I'm just going pop up to Britain for tea with H.E. Edward Chaplin..." Making distinctions makes me happy.

Yes, alcohol consumption has plummeted faster than sterling... exams are upon me.

Anonymous said...