Lanie Malone, Staff Reporter

I spent two weeks over the summer in Italy, touring around with my Poppop. We had planned to go to the Sistine Chapel for our last day. As soon as we awoke on our last day, we hopped in a cab and drove to the Vatican, a country within Italy.

We had an adorable Irish-Italian tour guide and loads of interesting people on our tour. It was a good group. There was a couple from Mexico who were very friendly and I forced my Poppop to talk to them in Spanish because he had mentioned how much he missed being fluent. He claimed to be rusty, but I hope it made him realize he should hold onto that incredible talent of being able to speak and understand another language.  It brought him a lot of pride in college I think, and I thought it was so cool of him. There was a man with a seemingly big heart from New Jersey, who told us he and his wife loved to travel to the most random places just to learn more. He exclaimed a deep love for the collecting toy trains and how neat he thought actual trains were.  He talked about them like they really made him happy.

Our tour guide had moved to Ireland for two years with her boyfriend to learn English. She was very good at it and smiled the whole time she gave the tour like it was her favorite place in the world.  The inside of the museum before the chapel was so eye opening. There were 50 feet tapestries draped on the walls with beautiful indigo and deep red colors, so full of life and so intricate that they were practically popping out of the walls. The paintings on the ceilings and sometimes hanging from the walls were incredible. Best art work I’ve ever seen, even beating some I see on the internet.  I couldn’t believe the diligence and patience reflected in the work, showing every item painted with such deep emotion, making to where you were practically being told a story. It was magical. The sculptures and architecture were so well thought out, only consisting of the finest materials from floor to ceiling. My favorite material used in the architecture was the emperor’s marble, as they call it. The finest and most rare material in the world, now worth billions of dollars. It was a dark, deep violet, the most beautiful color I had ever seen.

The actual Sistine Chapel was breathtaking. Every color you could think of displayed, telling all the stories of the Old Testament. The farthest facing wall was probably 100 feet tall and was so intricately painted. On the ceiling was the most beautiful artwork I’d ever seen. It was vast and incredible. I was so lucky to have seen it.  Before the tour finally departed, saying goodbye to our brilliant tour guide was almost sad. I didn’t want to leave her because she made me feel so happy. I was glad we got such a character to teach us about the Chapel. We went into a church that I think may be the biggest one in the world (I’ll have to check up on that). It was made of all the same material (granite, marble, emperor’s) and had several tombs of past Popes. One of the tombs was just a glass case with an actual dead Pope in it, perfectly visible. It was odd but pretty cool. We took a stroll around there and had dinner at another cute spot that night, just the two of us. Poppop told me more of his stories and I listened in awe.

I’d learned about how people are all over the world. I learned about how no matter where you’re from, you can still smile when you’re happy and laugh when something’s funny. Everyone who came to the Sistine Chapel was looking at the same art, but thinking something different. I felt humbled for the opportunity to see this world monument and grateful I was there with my grandpa.