Memories of Vatican bees...I've told you before about how Kate kidnapped me (2015) and together with David took me to Italy to meet up with Peter and Lisl for my bucket-listed visit to Michelangelo's David in Florence. Here's a reminder.
At the Vatican Museums, David piloted a wheelchair for me, so I could see everything without stressing my back. Not only did that make it easier for me, but the wheelchair got us into the Sistine Chapel faster and right to the front. Of course, we gawked and grocked in wonder and awe. Then as we made our way back, we went through the Gallery of Maps. It was David, at his elevated height above the heads of crowded others, who noticed the bees. Lotsa bees there. He carefully rolled me near so I could snap pix of them all.
Seems all these bees have historical significance. I didn't have to dig very deep.
The noble Barberini dynasty was among Rome’s greatest patrons of the arts. The Barberini family first arrived from Florence in the late 16th century, where they went by the name Tafani (horsefly). They soon changed their name and out went the unattractive old insect and in flew the ancient royal symbol of a bee. The family reached the height of its power in the 17th century when Cardinal Maffeo Barberini became Pope Urban VIII. Under his commission, artists turned Rome into a showcase of Baroque. The family’s coat of arms is three bees in a V-formation, and they decorate buildings and paintings all over the city. Barberini bees appear throughout the Vatican Museums, in particular on frescoed walls of the Gallery of Maps like this one.
In 2011 the Pope became a beekeeper when Italy's largest farming association gifted him with 1/2 million bees in honour of the Day for the Protection of Creation.
Tis all fitting, eh?
If this isn't nice, what is?
~ Kurt Vonnegut, of course