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When in Rome… you cannot miss a trip to the Vatican, the ecclesiastical state located in the center of the city. Besides being the official location of the Pope, it gives home to some of the most incredible masterpieces that have ever been made.

This article will tell you about the dangers of perspiration, stools and brains. Are you curious yet? Then keep reading!

1. Michelangelo’s The Creation of Adam is probably one of the most famous Vatican frescos in the world. What most people may not know is that, according to several scholars, the shape on which God is depicted may represent a human brain, symbolizing the passage of wisdom from God to humanity.

2. Speaking of the incredible work Michelangelo Buonarroti did in the Chapel, did you know that the artist wasn’t very happy to paint it, because of his lack of experience in the field of frescos? Do you think the world of art would be the same if Pope Julius II hadn’t forced Michelangelo to paint it?

3. The issue with incredible places such as the Sistine Chapel is that lots of people want to visit them, because art exists to be appreciated. What we visitors don’t always think about is that our very presence might damage such antique works of art: did you know that the main harm to the breathtaking frescos by Michelangelo is given by human sweat and warmth?

That’s something to think about!

4. Before it got to the Vatican, the San Girolamo penitente by Leonardo da Vinci had a troubled life: lost during the 19th century, the painting was accidentally found and bought by the Cardinal Joseph Fesch, Napoleon’s uncle. Tradition has it that, at the moment of its finding, the painting was divided in two parts: the lower part was used as the cover of a box, and the upper part was found at a shoemaker’s shop, where it had become the sitting surface of a stool!

5. Another “itinerant” work of art that is now in Vatican City is Lysippo’s Apoxyomenos: considered as the first sculpture representative of the classical Grecian art, its recovery in 1849 was so sensational that the road in which it was found was renamed in its honor! Originally sculpted for the Baths of Agrippa, Emperor Tiberius loved it and he moved it in his palace, but, since he was pretty much forced to bring it to any public representation, he decided to move the statue back to where it belonged.