I’m so amazed at all I managed to see and do here in such a short amount of time! My first day in Rome was PACKED and my second day was just as exciting!
This day brought us to Vatican City and a visit to the Vatican Museum. Prior to arriving here we had heard a lot about how long the lines can be and that there is always a possibility of not even getting in! So we were absolutely shocked to pretty much walk right in and buy our tickets!
There are over four miles of displays here and while we didn’t even come close to seeing them all, we still saw a lot! The art, most of which depicted Biblical scenes, was amazing! It’s so interesting to see how artists choose to depict these stories.
We went through rooms of Egyptian and Mesopotamian artifacts including many mummies and sarcophagi; walked through other rooms containing huge and impressive statues; down long halls lined with tapestries and old maps; and a room filled with frescos by Raphael.
The rooms that held all of these were incredible in and of themselves! But of course, the most impressive room was the Sistine Chapel. It was filled with people, heads craned back, staring at this amazing masterpiece! I honestly don’t see how any one person could paint the entire ceiling and altar wall, especially with so much detail! Photographs are technically not allowed but we managed to sneak some. 😉 You really can’t take in enough of this room. It’s just awe-inspiring!
Next we went to St. Peter’s Basilica. Things just keep getting more massive! Actually, everything in Vatican City is beyond huge – they don’t do small or ordinary. St. Peter’s was also filled with people, but since it can hold 95,000 on it’s six acres, it wasn’t too bad. Again, there was just too much to take in: domes, chapels, statues, mosaics, altars, and Disney Cruise tour groups. We took so many pictures, but they absolutely do not capture the grandeur of the place.
After strolling through the Basilica we decided to climb to the top of the dome. We took an elevator to the roof (saving us over 200 steps) then took 323 steps to the top of the huge dome where we had a fantastically wonderful 360° view of Rome. Our trip to Vatican City ended with a walk through St. Peter’s Square (again, beyond massive). We sat there imagining what it must be like to be here surrounded by hundreds of thousands of people, anxious to see and hear the pope.
Now started one of the highlights of my visit – a self-guided Night Walk Across Rome (thank you, Rick Steves!). We started at Campo de’ Fiori where we had dinner outside at Ristorante la Carbonara while being serenaded by a strolling musician. I feel I must mention that this is where I had the worst meal of my 10-week journey through Europe. Yes folks, my worst meal was in Italy, home of some of the best food in the world. But, Italy is also where I had one of the most delicious meals of my trip! So it redeemed itself. 🙂 (Please don’t use this as a reason not to visit this restaurant – I’m sure the food there is great. What I ordered earned its “worst meal” status because of the whole anchovies that I was not expecting to be hidden in it)
Next we walked to Piazza Navona, a huge square lined with restaurants and filled with Bernini fountains, street performers, and artists. A very happening place! Teresa ate some Tartufo (“death by chocolate”) from Tre Scalini, but is still alive as of this writing.
We walked to the Pantheon to view it by floodlight – beautiful – then to Trevi Fountain which was filled to overflowing with people (the square, not the fountain). I’m very sorry to say that I did not know at the time about the tradition of throwing a coin in the fountain to ensure a return visit to Rome. So if anyone has plans to visit Rome in the near future, please throw one in with my name on it. Thanks.
The last part of our Night Walk was a visit to the Spanish Steps. The Spanish Steps are…steps…leading to…something that was under renovation (a church, I think). As far as we could tell, they’re a place people come to hang out. So we bought some McDonalds fries (at the world’s most opulent McDonalds) and “hung out” on the steps. We thoroughly enjoyed our night tour through Rome and it was the perfect way to end our short stay in this amazing city!