Tuesday, July 8, 2008

New Thing #179--Splendid

Day 3 of our Cleveland trip found us going in a different direction for culture, both by geographic area and by subject matter. Today I visited a special exhibition-Vatican Splendors-at the Western Reserve Historical Society.

According to the museum Website, "Vatican Splendors comprises one of the largest Vatican collections ever to tour North America...[and] includes some things that had never before been on public view".

The museum is located in the University Circle section of the city, where Case Western Reserve University and several cultural institutions are located. It was farther than our hotel shuttle would take us; when we asked the best way to get there, the concierge told us to take a taxi. However, that's not our style, so we decided how to get there using public transit.

We bought a day pass for the RTA and validated it. The museum turned out to be pretty easy to get to-a 15 minute walk to the nearest stop, then a 15 minute ride to the University Circle area. We were prepared to walk the rest of the way to the museum, based on the concierge's information; however, we found out there's a shuttle bus that runs through the area that got us within a couple of blocks of the museum.

The exhibit was wonderful. We entered at 10:30 (the tickets were timed entry) and didn't finish till well after noon. There were works by Michelangelo, Bernini, Giotto, and other artists, religious relics, and other items. Some of the artifacts dated back to the third century; others (items used by Pope Benedict XVI and Pope John Paul II) were just a couple of years old.

There were four themes to the exhibit. The first was the evolution of the Church and its papacy beginning with Saint Peter through the papacy of Pope Benedict XVI. The next section concentrated on the Renaissance (current) Saint Peter’s Basilica and Sistine Chapel. The third section covered the Papal Swiss Guard, and included some very colorful uniforms that have been worn over the years. Last was an area devoted to the Vatican Museums, which included artwork that had been acquired by the Vatican and religious articles.

Although our ticket allowed us to be admitted to any of the other exhibits in the museum, we were hungry and decided to leave and go to lunch. Thanks to a very informative gentleman in the Information booth, we learned we could walk about a short distance to get to the Little Italy neighborhood, where there were restaurants lining both sides of the street for several blocks. We picked one and had a great lunch, then walked back to University Circle to return back to downtown, and eventually the airport.

We left Cleveland not having done everything that was on our list of things to do, and wanting to go back someday. That's my definition of a good vacation!

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