Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Why Would You Not Savor The Journey?

When I was 16, I was living in Milan, Italy, and got the opportunity to visit Rome. I went to the Vatican Museums (by myself) and started looking at the works of art on the walls of the museum. The last stop of the museum tour is the Sistine Chapel where Michaelangelo's famous ceiling is found.

While looking at the artwork on the way to the Chapel, I found myself stopped short, transfixed by a painting of an angel, a beautiful lady with angelic wings and robes, the most beautiful lady I had ever seen. I must have stared at that painting for at least a half-hour, probably an hour.

I was then startled to hear an announcement that the museum was closing for the day. What? It was only 4 p.m.! Ah, but I hadn't read the sign that the museum closed at 4 every day.

So I didn't get to see the Sistine Chapel until years later! But I wasn't sorry - I had gotten my fill from the paintings and sculptures I had seen in the hallways of the museum.

The Vatican reported today that 60% of all 4.3 million visitors to the Vatican Museums last year did not stop and look at anything on their way to the Sistine Chapel. The Vatican Museums Director Antonio Paolucci, said that the average walker takes only an an hour and twenty minutes to walk through the whole museum, all the hallways on the way to the Sistine Chapel. Most of these are on tour groups, so right after the Museums, they go to the Forum, the Colloseum, and then a quick visit to Michelangelo's statue of David. Phew!

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