Everyone comes to Rome for 2 things- Vatican City and Collosseum. Everything else is just a filler. Day 1 in Rome was for Vatican and I have planned alternate days in the city so we don’t get bored.
We booked tickets for Vatican City and St Peter’s Basilica online. It also includes the entry to the Sistine Chapel. Vatican is the area where the Pope and 200 other people live. They have gardens, banks, restaurants and shops inside. It is like a city inside the city. That is because many, many years back the Pope was the ruler of Romans.
We booked a guided English tour from the official website of the Vatican. It cost a bomb- 74 Euros (around 5k) for 2 people and included the entry. But was completely worth the money.
– We bought a bus ticket from a grocery store. Today we realized that the tickets are available in all grocery stories. For 1.5 Euros per head you can make multiple journeys within 100 mins
– For some reason today’s bus took us 45 mins to Termini instead of last night’s 20 mins. Termini is the central bus and train station. From termini you can take a slow or an express bus to Vatican which takes less than 30 mins.
– Always, always skip the queue at Vatican by paying extra for tickets else you will be stuck in the longest queue ever for atleast an hour. Quite a WTF since you have to spend another 3 hours on your feet inside Vatican
– We were 30 mins late for the tour and our timing was rescheduled without too much hassles. There are a lot of rules online about dressing and bags for entry to Vatican. We didn’t carry the DSLR due to this and sorely regretted it. And I saw many women in hot pants and stuff. I guess the only rule is that your shoulders should be covered. Everything else is ok
– There are no snacks or water inside the Vatican. So have a heavy b’fast and carry water. We didn’t do either because we were late.Thank god for the peanuts M&Ms I picked up from Delhi duty free. They were my b’fast today and kept me going till lunch.
– The Vatican is huge and only 20-30% of the actual area is open to public. It took us 3 hours to cover that much. I cannot even imagine what the rest of it is like.
– We even visited the Pope’s chambers because the new Pope leads an asutere life and has refused to live in a 20 bedrooms area.
– After Vatican City, we visited the Sistine Chapel which has Michael Angelo’s paintings. Photographs and talking are not allowed inside the chapel
– This was followed by a visit to St Peter’s Basilica which is the world’s largest church. It is dedicated to St Peter’s, one of the Apostles of Christ.
– We were given radios with a earphone while the guide had a mic. This was really awesome because the Vatican is not huge enough for so many visitors. So we followed the guide at a distance and could hear everything she said. Poor lady also had to carry a flag so we could find her. I haven’t come across this system anywhere else.
– Having a guide is necessary because the Vatican is huge and the guide will pinpoint only the main sites. You can easily spend 3 days exploring the Vatican and am only talking about the 20-30% of the area which is open to the public. Also, without a guide you cannot enter St Peter’s Basilica from the shortcut. You would have to walk 8 km inside the Vatican, then walk back those 8 km and then enter St Peter’s Basilica. Trust me, you do not want to do that.
– Comfortable shoes are the key here. I wore my most comfortable pair of heels since the other pairs didn’t go with my outfit. I managed fine but most people were in shoes.
– The paintings and frescos are mind blowing. You can see every ripple on the body. I saw way too many penises today. Though all the men had good physqiues- with muscles and no potbellies, so it was pretty good. Hardly any naked women though and I wonder why.
Our trip ended with the best lasagna I have ever eaten followed by a decent gelato.
Now we are too tired for anything else except exploring our neighbourhood.
I don’t have very good pics but these should suffice.
Outside St Peter’s Basilica
St Peterùs Basilica. It is so huge and beautiful.