America’s “Mother Road,” stretching from Chicago to Los Angeles, was the first of its kind in many respects. For starters, it was the first diagonal highway covering a long stretch of land in the 1920s. But more importantly, it was a pioneer in connecting small, rural towns in Illinois, Missouri and Kansas with larger, urban regions, which helped farmers ship their goods to the big cities. When it was officially commissioned in 1926, Route 66 included 2,448 miles of road. And even though only 800 of those miles were paved, it still served as the nation’s primary junction between the east and west.
Aside from the summer heat, Rome doesn’t have much in common with St. Louis. But until Sept. 12, both will host long lines of tourists intent on seeing the Vatican’s artistic and religious history. And while the Missouri History Museum can’t rival the glory of St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City, there is something to be said for its pastoral setting in Forest Park.
The exhibit Vatican Splendors: A Journey Through Faith and Art is a chronological tale of Christian art focused around St. Peter’s Basilica. Starting with the saint’s upside-down crucifixion by the Romans, it travels 2,000 years, dropping names like Guercino, Giotto, Michelangelo and Bernini along the way.