The Vatican

We headed down to the hotel lobby this morning to request a taxi. We were scheduled to view the Vatican museums, the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica. The taxi took us directly to the museum entrance, as our guide yesterday, Tosca, told us to be sure to do, otherwise they’d let you off at the wrong spot. Well! It looked like a regular cluster muck up as soon as we exited the taxi. People everywhere. No seeming rhyme nor reason to any of it. Limited signage. Well, we expected that after yesterday at the Colosseum. We managed to scoot around the many tour groups forming up and pushed our way through to get inside after the first scanning of the tickets I had booked. Then we had to go through security and find a reception office to exchange my booked tickets for other ones. And then it was another push to get upstairs and find where we could pick up our audio guides. Think that was hectic? It was nothing compared with what we found once we started through the museums. Total insanity. Throngs of people everywhere, with no one wanting to give way. Groups trying to stay together made just the three of us almost impossible to stay together. If there was ever a problem of some sort, we’d all be toast. Just saying it was anything but safe. However going through some of the many spaces things were amazing! More art and antiquities than you could ever imagine. Some spaces were jaw dropping. My favorite room was the Galleria delle Carte Geografiche. It was a magnificent long room with a gorgeous barrel ceiling with paintings depicting all the former regions that became Italy once it united. As we moved through spaces some of the throng thankfully spread out making it less claustrophobic and easier to appreciate what was there.

As we approached the area for the Sistine Chapel we were flabbergasted to find Tosca there! We knew she was taking a mother/daughter through but thought she’d been through earlier. She said we ought to just join her from there as we’d not be thrilled with the lengthy wait to get into the Basilica and that we’d have to backtrack about a mile to leave the way we came in. We easily and quickly agreed. Fortunately her other clients didn’t mind a bit, especially when we found that they were also from Seattle.

Onward we moved into the Sistine Chapel which was increadibly beautiful. Now, I’m not religious in any fashion, but I can appreciate the beauty and talent it took to create such a space. Once we all finished oogling everything we left as part of her “group”. Let me take a moment for an aside comment for anyone reading this and planning to visit. Hire a private guide! The ability they have to maneuver around, the insights and knowledge they have and the headaches you’ll save are worth it. If you need Tosca’s contact info, let me know.

Along we went then to go into Saint Peter’s. If we were still on our own we would have passed it up. The line in the square just to get through security and into the church was nuts! With Tosca we got to bypass all of that and go right in. Whew! And then WOW! There wasn’t a square inch that wasn’t elaborately decorated. The first thing we saw on the right as we entered was Michaelangelo’s first Pieta. Beautiful. Then one gorgeous mosaic after another. The place is huge and interestingly they mark the size by comparison to other Basilicas and churches around the world by markings on the floor. Needless to say, we were awed.

We proceeded out into the square where we all said our goodbyes. Tosca once again gave us good scoop on where to go for lunch. Nearby was a walking only street, Borgo Pio, lined with restaurants with outside seating perfect for a lovely spring day. We also had the pleasure of being serenaded while eating. So Italian!

Once finished we began walking over the Tiber River until we reached the Spanish Steps. Crowds greeted us again but we climbed the 174 steps up. Then we headed over to the Villa Borghese park, one of the largest in Rome. After we had our afternoon gelato we opted to rent one of the battery assisted bike carts to ride around for an hour. I don’t think I’ve ever seen Silas so gleeful! We toodled around with him being a regular back seat driver while sitting in front next to his mom. Me? I just sat in the back and enjoyed the ride. We had some challenges as doing a u turn was challenging making us get out a time or two to push back or do a “Flintstone” style push start up hills, but it was delightful.

So that finally had us walking back to the hotel where we currently sit having some room wine and snacks before heading out for dinner.

We’ve enjoyed Rome, walked between 6-9 miles a day, but have seen all that was on my list. And amazing city. Tomorrow we’re off to Florence!

3 thoughts on “The Vatican

  1. Loral Ann Jorza

    Aren’t we fortunate to still be able to see the work of such masterful artisans!!!! The sculptures were jaw dropping to me. Thank you for the great photos!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

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