Rome – Friday

Today was a free day (no scheduled events until dinner).  We joined some colleagues for a tour of St. Peter’s Basilica, and the mosaic workshop at the Vatican:

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My pictures don’t do St. Peter’s justice.  Because it was designed as a mausoleum and monument (and not as a museum), all of the interior decorations are stone (sculptures and mosaics).  Our tour guide gave us too much information about individual popes through history, and not enough information about the art and architecture, but at least we saw Michelangelo’s Pieta (behind glass):

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…and the beautiful dome designed by Michelangelo and decorated with mosaics:

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This bronze canopy (created by Bernini) helps identify the small altar, which would otherwise be lost in the vastness of the Basilica:

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Some of the bronze for this canopy is believed to have been recycled from the bronze that attached the marble facing to the outsides of other, older buildings, such as the Colosseum.

The highlight of the visit was the private tour of the mosaic workshop, where all of the mosaics in St. Peter’s and the Vatican are maintained and restored, and new mosaics are created.  We watched an artist melt glass to get the exact color she needed:

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…then shape the glass and cut it to exactly the shape of pieces she needed:

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Here’s one of the works in progress:

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…and two of the finished mosaics on display:

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After some caffe latte and pasta:

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…we wandered around the area for several hours, including wandering through the Mercato Trionfale:

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We finally made it back to the hotel in time for a short rest before our last company event, a cooking class & dinner at a winery south of Rome:

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…with a Roman road running through the grapes and olive trees:

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We made the pasta that we would eat for dinner:

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