Vatican City

Hello and happy Monday!

Due to unreliable WiFi, I am once again behind on blogging about my 2.5-week solo adventure! Now, I am back and ready to get caught up!

Sooo…where was I? Oh yes! May 2nd in Rome!

On my second day in Italy, I headed to Vatican City for a guided tour of the Vatican museums, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica. Before beginning my tour, however, I stopped by the Trevi Fountain (for a second time) and Spanish Steps to beat the crowds.

Eventually, I arrived at the meeting point for my tour right outside the Vatican Walls.

Now, as we all know, I do not like audio guides for museums and I have never been a part of a guided tour. However, a friend of mine HIGHLY suggested shelling out the money for guided tours for both the Vatican and Colosseum. For her, the guided tours were the highlights of her time in Rome. I booked both of my guided tours (Vatican and Colosseum) through Headout and I thought both seemed reasonably priced and offered cashback if you connected your Facebook account. I am always looking to save some cash! The group altogether was not more than 30 people, which I thought was a great size as it provided intimacy with the guide. Additionally, booking a guided tour allows for skip-the-line tickets. At the both the Vatican and Colosseum, you can wait for HOURS in line to just get a basic admission ticket. Another advantage of shelling out money for a guided tour if you ask me!

Before beginning the tour, I received my headset and radio. Through my headphones, I was able to hear the guide discuss the history of Vatican City (a different “country”), while we passed through the Vatican Walls.

My first stop on my tour was the Vatican Museums. The museums house some of the most beautiful art pieces I have ever laid my eyes on in person. My guide provided history of specific paintings, tapestries, and the building itself. I loved learning about the stories about Michelangelo painting the Sistine Chapel and other areas of the Vatican Museums. Without a doubt, the Vatican Museums had some of the most beautiful ceilings I have ever seen in my whole entire life!

After hitting the highlights in the Vatican Museums, my group made our way to the Sistine Chapel. Holy crap, friends, the Sistine Chapel is phenomenal! I can safely say I could have sat and stared at the ceiling all day and still would have found something new to see. Unfortunately, my guide had to provide information about the Sistine Chapel outside of the space (quiet area), so I kind of forgot what I was looking for when going into the chapel. Nonetheless, I cannot believe I saw the Sistine Chapel in person. Pictures are not permitted. Boo!

My guide gave my group around 30 minutes in the Sistine Chapel after which we headed to St. Peter’s Basilica for our final stop. Once again, I learned about the history of the building, paintings, statues, etc. I learned that St. Peter’s is the largest church in the entire world! After seeing St. Paul’s Cathedral in London which was built to rival St. Peter’s, I can safely say St. Paul’s does not even compare to St. Peter’s in my opinion.

Once exiting the basilica and turning in my audio guide, I decided to go to St. Peter’s Basilica dome. For 8 euros, visitors ascend 871 steps (one-way) to the dome. If you pay 10 euros, you can take an elevator a portion of the way up and only have to climb 320 steps. Note, all payments have to be in cash!

I felt the view of Rome from the dome was worth the money and the 871 step climb (x 2) was not bad at all! However, brace yourself for claustrophobia once you reach the top. I admired the view for some time, snapped some photos, and headed down again.

Hello, Vatican City and Rome!

I made my way to the exit and said farewell to Pope Francis and Vatican City.

After exiting Vatican City and entering Rome, I made my way to Janiculum Terrace. Along the way, I stumbled into a mosaic shop where artisans were making house numbers and letters. Very neat! With some Google maps trial and error, I finally found myself at the lookout point/park. While in Rome, I went to a few different lookout points and by far this one did not have the most amazing view, in my opinion.

So, I took a few photos and then started walking to a different viewing area called Janiculum Terrace. There were benches, shade, and a water fountain at this spot and I found the view to be 100 times better! I sat for a while on the wall resting my legs and soaking up the sun.

Nearby Janiculum Terrace, was an amazing rose garden free and open to the public. I stopped and walked around for a little bit before continuing onward to look at Roman ruins.

Now, this is where I made the crazy decision to walk an hour to Quatiere Coppede on tired legs. This area of Rome is on the outskirts of the city and has some local stores and food. The architecture was neat in this area. In my opinion, though, I should have done a Google search of the area before walking blindly based off of a recommendation. Otherwise, I probably would have skipped the area entirely. Since I happened to be outside of the city center, I also walked to Ponte Milvio/Collina Fleming where a bridge takes you to some restaurants and a church. I rested on a bench before walking back towards my hostel.

For dinner, I decided on an antipasto platter of sorts from the grocery store as I could not be bothered to eat at a restaurant for 1+ hours. Of course, I HAD to top off my dinner with a gelato from Gelateria La Ramona again. Different flavors and whipped cream this time around! After walking 21.2 miles according to my phone, I earned this gelato!

YUM, YUM, YUM!

That’s all for my second day in Rome! I will be back tomorrow with my last Rome post and will hopefully have a couple more posts about my time in Cagliari!

Thanks for bearing with my inconsistency. Your loyalty, patience, and comments are much appreciated, friends!

Leave a positive impression,

Sydney xo

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