Roman sculpture of the torch-bearing moon goddess Luna, or Diana Lucifera (“Diana Bringer of Light”), who was said to be the same as the Greek Selene (Vatican Museums)
SELENE was the Titan goddess of the moon, and a Titan in Greek mythology. She is the daughter of Hyperion and Theia. She was depicted as a woman either riding side saddle on a horse or in a chariot drawn by a pair of winged steeds. Her lunar sphere or crescent was represented as either a crown set upon her head or as the fold of a raised, shining cloak. Sometimes she was said to drive a team of oxen and her lunar crescent was likened to the horns of a bull. Selene’s great love was the shepherd prince Endymion. The beautiful boy was granted eternal youth and immortality by Zeus and placed in a state of eternal slumber in a cave near the peak of Lydian Mount Latmos. There his heavenly bride descended to consort with him in the night.
A number of other goddesses were also associated with the moon, however, only Selene was represented by the old Greek poets represented as the moon incarnate. Other Greek moon goddesses included Pasiphae, the Leukippides, Eileithyia, Hekate, Artemis, Bendis, and Hera (who sometimes doubled for Selene in the Endymion myth). Source
I Musei Vaticani (Vatican Museums) are located inside Vatican City, in Rome. They display an immense collection of works, as it has been built up by the Popes during the centuries. They are divided into 25 areas, among which the most famous are the Pinacoteca (The Picture Gallery) - with paintings by Rapahel, Leonardo da Vinci, Giotto, Perugino and Caravaggio - the Stanze di Raffaello (Raphael Rooms) - four rooms frescoed by Raffaello Sanzio and his novices, whose most famous fresco is La Scuola di Atene (The School of Athens) in the Stanza della Segnatura - the Musei di Antichità Classiche (Museums of Classical Antiquities) - museums of marble and bronze sculptures from Greek and Roman artists – and the most famous of all, the Cappella Sistina (Sistine Chapel), which is same room in which the cardinals elect the popes and is famous all over then world for the Guidizio Universale (the Last Judgement), a fresco by Michelangelo Buonarroti that covers a whole wall. The other walls and the vault have been frescoed as well by other great artists of the second half of the XV century, such as Sandro Botticelli Pinturicchio and Domenico Ghirlandaio.
The first time I was in Rome was the year after college on a solo backpacking trip through Europe. This staircase was one of the highlights of my adventure, and I’ve been wanting to return ever since. Finally made it back nearly 10 years later, and it was as beautiful as I remembered.