We are staying approximately 20 minutes by public transport outside of Rome, so up early to negotiate a bus and the Metro Train Underground to Vatican City.
The walk from the train station through the City and our first glimpse of Rome was pretty awesome and we were really excited. We were not sure what to expect of Rome, we had heard mixed reviews but our initial thoughts were that it was incredibly cleaner than anticipated, the buildings and architecture were amazing and at this stage it wasn’t too crowded.
Our research made us aware that Vatican City was in fact it’s own independent country, however we were not prepared for the size of the wall surrounding it.
While Vatican City is the smallest country, the Vatican Museum is one of the biggest and most extensive. Every hallway, every ceiling is decorated with excessive opulence.
Areas like the Sistine Chapel with the Michelangelo paintings defy description, but sadly photography is not permitted. Although, along with the expected religious artefacts, there are amazing works by extremely well known artists. One of Rodin’s “The Thinker” sculptures and Dali’s “Paesaggio Angelico” where unexpected personal highlights for us both.
Another pleasant surprise is the view from the windows, for example the view of St Peters in the picture below. The stairway to exit the museum was in itself a work of art, there were more tourists taking photos of the staircase than walking on it.
Overall the Vatican Museum or Musei Vaticani is extraordinarily overwhelming. Every room feels packed from roof to floor, from corner to corner with amazing works of art or memorabilia. It feels impossible to take in and we spent a lot of time laughing at each other as we stood still moving our heads like laughing clowns at a carnival. It truly was the most amazing experience, we agreed you could go every day for a year and still not feel like you had truly ‘seen’ everything.
Once out of the museum, our next stop was St Peter’s Square (Piazza San Pietro) and St Peter’s Basilica. Again, the overwhelming size of everything really took our breath away. We had to join a long line to get into the Basilica, but it gave us time to look around the square.
Upon entering St Peter’s Basilica we were in awe of its architecture, the pictures below give some sense of its scale, nothing could have prepared us for the experience. We felt like we had walked into a world of giants, so small compared to the height and magnitude of the artwork, sculptures and the Basilica itself.
Upon leaving Vatican City we headed toward the train station, enjoying the iconic sights of Castel Sant’Angelo, the Palace of Justice along the Tiber River (Fiume Tevere) towards the Piazza del Popolo to make our way back to the apartment.