Home » Lifestyle » Travel 2016: Day Fourteen – Back to Rome and Vatican City

Travel 2016: Day Fourteen – Back to Rome and Vatican City

Jeff Linamen

Blog Stats

  • 33,512 hits

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 368 other followers

Follow How Do You Measure 525600 Minutes? on WordPress.com
BlogWithIntegrity.com

NetGalley

We sailed into Cittavecchia as the sun rose, ending our seven day cruise. Before we disembarked the Silver Wind, we had breakfast, said a few goodbyes and waited to be called. We were provided transportation from Cittavecchia to the taxi stand at the Piazza Barberini in Rome. From there we headed to Vatican City.

img_1328Arriving at the Residenza Paolo VI Hotel, our home for the night– we had plenty of time before our tour. The hotel was literally across a narrow side street from St. Peter’s Square. George and Mary were able to check in when we arrived but our room wasn’t ready. We left our bags in their room and then we went upstairs and checked out the view from the terrace.

 

View of St. Peter/s from the terrace of the Residenza Paolo VI Hotel in Rome.

View of St. Peter’s from the terrace of the Residenza Paolo VI Hotel in Rome.

 

Michael had booked our private tour before the trip. This allowed us to bypass the lines at the Vatican Museum which can be quite long. We were supposed to meet our guide by some park stairs near the museum — we just had to find them. After spending a little time in St. Peter’s Square, we headed out around the perimeter of Vatican City– and of course. we chose the long way around.

 

St. Peter's Square, Vatican City, Rome.

St. Peter’s Square, Vatican City, Rome.

 

Michael and I in St. Peter's Square.

Michael and I in St. Peter’s Square.

 

The fortress-like wall around Vatican City.

The fortress-like wall around Vatican City.

 

After about a half mile walk, we found the meeting point and then decided to get a little lunch before the tour. We ended up at a little corner joint — didn’t look like much on the outside but inside it was actually quite nice. We had a nice filling lunch (I had pizza) and then headed to meet our guide.

The Vatican Museum is massive. We only saw a portion of it, marveling at the incredible content as we moved from room to room. Detailed frescos, hundreds of enormous tapestries, thousands of marble sculptures– not to mention the wide variety of architectural styles throughout the museum.

 

Above the entrance to the Vatican Museum.

Above the entrance to the Vatican Museum.

 

Marble Busts in the Vatican Museum.

Ancient Marble Roman Busts.

 

Inside the Vatican Museum.

Inside the Vatican Museum.

 

Domed Ceiling in the Vatican Museum.

Domed Ceiling in the Vatican Museum.

 

I loved this sculpture.

I loved this sculpture.

 

Incredible detail in this Mosaic Floor.

Incredible detail in this Mosaic Floor.

 

Laocoon and His Sons excavated in Rome, 1506.

Laocoon and His Sons, excavated in Rome, 1506.

 

Sala Rotonda in the Vatican Museum.

Sala Rotonda in the Vatican Museum.

 

Roman Mosaic Floor in the Vatican Museum.

Roman Mosaic Floor in the Vatican Museum.

 

Inside on of the four Raphael Rooms.

Inside one of the four Raphael Rooms.

 

Lysippos, Apoxyomenos.

Lysippos, Apoxyomenos.

 

Inside a room filled with mostly dog sculptures.

Inside a large room filled with animal but mostly dog sculptures.

 

In a courtyard at the Vatican Museum in Vatican City.

In a courtyard at the Vatican Museum in Vatican City.

 

The Sistine Chapel. I’ve always heard this was a must-see in Rome and it is only accessible with a ticket to the Vatican Museum. We were warned before entering that there was to be no talking and no photography inside.

We entered, and were in and out in probably five minutes or less. Why? It was extremely crowded and a little uncomfortable. Visitors were crammed in like sardines, most staring up at the magnificent ceiling. But– people were talking, taking cell phone pictures and prompting the guards to yell at the crowd, repeatedly, to stop doing both.

I kept getting bumped into and brushed against. I was honestly afraid I was going to fall victim to the rumored pick-pockets. It was the only time during the whole trip that I had any concern. I was just anxious to get out of there. By the time I got to the other side of the room– the rest of our party was also there– we all just wanted to leave that claustrophobic environment.

St. Peter’s Basilica. The Papal Basilica is considered by many as one of the world’s most holy places. We’ve toured many churches, cathedrals and basilicas around the world. This is THE basilica, right? Nothing can prepare you for how colossal it really is until you walk inside and experience it for yourself. The tallest dome in the world, it rises 448 feet above the sanctuary.

 

St. Peter's Basilica in ROme.

St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome.

 

The famous Popes Balcony at St. Peter's Basilica.

The famous Popes Balcony at St. Peter’s Basilica.

 

Preparing to Enter St. Peter's Basilica.

Preparing to Enter St. Peter’s Basilica.

 

As we were nearing the end of a Jubilee year, we were still able to pass through the Holy Door which according to Catholic beliefs, cleanses the pilgrims that pass through it. (The Holy door was just resealed by the Pope a few weeks ago.) It is normally sealed from the inside with mortar.

 

Waiting to enter the Holy Door, only open during a Jubilee year celebration.

Waiting to enter the Holy Door that is only open during a Jubilee year celebration.

 

Michaelangelo's Pieta, 1498.

Michaelangelo’s Pieta, 1498.

 

The stunning interior of St. Peter's Basilica.

The stunning interior of St. Peter’s Basilica.

 

Inside St. Peter's Basilica.

Inside St. Peter’s Basilica.

 

Dome inside St. Peter's Basilica.

Dome inside St. Peter’s Basilica.

 

Inside St. Peter's Basilica.

The Altar Canopy Inside St. Peter’s Basilica is only used by the Pope.

There is no charge to visit St. Peter’s. If you are visiting Rome but limited on time, you should most definitely visit St. Peter’s Square and the Basilica, even if you don’t have time to tour the museum.

For dinner we headed to Su & Giu Cucina Romana on the recommendation of George’s sister. We arrived too early (just after 6) forgetting that most restaurants close after lunch and then open later for dinner. In our case, they didn’t open until 7:30. So we took a walk through the neighborhood and did some window shopping in the meantime.

George and I enjoying the street view on our last night in Rome.

George and I enjoying the street view on our last night in Rome.

The streets were quite lively. There were lots of street vendors and people hurrying about. I found a special pleasantness about it all– a wonderful vibe and quite charming. It was enjoyable just to sit, people-watch and soak it all in.

We were the first to be seated when we got back to the restaurant. We couldn’t have shared a more perfect meal for our last night. There was an overabundance of delicious food. We were stuffed!

We took a taxi back to the hotel, George and Mary went upstairs, while Michael and I walked back over to St. Peter’s Square to view it all lit up and snap a few photos.

 

St. Peter's Square at night.

St. Peter’s Square at night.

 

I’m really glad we planned our trip this way. Saving a day just dedicated to seeing the Vatican was a smart move. There’s really no way to truly experience all that Rome has to offer and the Vatican in one day. Splitting it up the way we did, I feel like we were able to fully experience this incredible city– even if it was crammed into a couple days.

 

(Original Travel Date: September 30, 2016)


2 Comments

  1. Herb Linamen says:

    Can’t wait to open these in “Archive” to eventually see the pics in a much larger size.

    Like

  2. Mary says:

    Jeff, your photos are magnificent! And,
    your words truly capture what it felt like to be there.

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Goodreads

NetChallenge

Challenge Participant
%d bloggers like this: