Other then the Sistine Chapel, the map gallery, tapestry room and the Raphael rooms are my favorite. You can not help but gawk at everything. I was so busy staring I did not have the inclination to take many shots. No one could take pictures in the Sistine Chapel anyway. I'm not sure why they let you take photos in the other rooms. The art in the Raphael rooms are awesome too.
|The School Of Athens by Raphael|
This one by Raphael is interesting because it has all the great thinkers gathered together in this one painting/fresco. I like it because he painted Michelangelo into it as well. Raphael was in this room painting while Michelangelo was painting the Sistine Chapel. Maybe a little competition was going on....who knows.
Michelangelo by Raphael
You can get an idea of how big Raphael's paintings are just by the size of this photo. This is a picture I took of Michelangelo from the painting The School of Athens right above. Pretty cool!
I'm so glad I had my Rick Steves' book. A tour guide would have been needed if I did not have his book. I really don't think I missed anything by not purchasing a professional guide. But I have to stress you do need something whether it's a tour guide or tour guide book. There is too much to see. You might miss something important and may not know what you are looking at.
The Sistine chapel is case in point. There is so much on the ceiling, you can not possibly know what it all means.