By now I had a full blown cold, so we got a very late start on Friday, not leaving the hotel until almost noon. We took a bus across the river to go see the Vatican. My head was in a bit of a fog, so we ended up completely circumnavigating the Vatican City. Probably the only sovereign state that I will ever circumnavigate on foot.
Every guide book and every individual we had talked to had been preparing us for the terribly long line to get into the Vatican museum. Well, at 1pm on the second Friday in February there was NO LINE. At all. we just put our bags on the x-ray machines. This was a good thing, because after circumnavigating the Vatican City I was not in the mood to stand in line for an hour.
The museum is designed to take you through a long series of rooms, seeing lots of stuff before you see the Sistine Chapel. Whether or not you are actually interested in the other stuff. Not sure if this is primarily to manage the crowds in the Sistine Chapel or to make sure that you see the other stuff. Some folks just treat it as a mile long purgatory to sprint through to see the Sistine Chapel.
Anyway, lots of beautiful things. We spent a couple of hours enjoying looking – but there is just so much you can only look a few things in each room. Here are a couple pictures, there are more at Flickr.
The Sistine Chapel was really amazing, to think that one person painted the whole ceiling and that person was Michelangelo, who was actually a person, not someone you just read about in books. Steve loved it, and we spent 45 minutes in there. I, on the other hand, had expectations that it would be a bit more than it was. It seemed so small for all I had heard about it over the years.
After the Chapel we went over to St Peter’s Basilica. This was much more impressive to me. All of the mosaics were so vast and beautiful. To see them up close up inside the dome was my highlight.
We took a ton of pictures – a few more are up over at Flickr.
After St Peters we walked back across the river and had browsed along a street of high-end antique shops. There were also some jewellers and the most fabulous leather shop I’d ever been in. Il Bisonte If you ever want to buy me something, anything from here will do. :-)
We had a nice dinner and then headed back to the hotel after a good, long day.
(BTW – I’ll be finishing up the series with a ‘recommendations’ post with details for those of you who are headed to Rome in the near future.)