This day consisted of a lot, and I mean a lot, of walking. Good thing we started the morning off with some rolls and croissants from the hotel.
Keep in mind that on this day we did not use any mode of transportation other than walking. We started out at our hotel by the Spanish Steps. The first stop of the day was Trevi Fountain.
Everyone who visits Rome needs to get a picture here, but the tough part is that there are so many people around you really can’t get too close and people are always in the picture. At least the one of me with Ryan managed to keep other people out of the shot.
Since we really didn’t get a lot for breakfast (we didn’t eat all the croissants and rolls), we stopped to people watch, get a coffee and find something for breakfast. Too bad the people there did not speak much English and did not have a lot to offer us with protein for breakfast. I ended up with cheese and tomatoes on bread that was grilled, like a grilled cheese.
We walked around the Victor Emanuel Monument again, and went in the museum.
Back again to see some ruins.
This area, I think, is where we learned later on that Julius Caesar was killed.
As we kept on walking, we got to the river, and had to cross over to reach the Vatican. In the back you can spot Castle Saint Angelo.
I swear, Italy is home to more sculptures than any place else in the world.
Welcome to Vatican City, which is actually it’s own country.
Obviously it was mobbed with people, although it would make sense, especially because the Pope was just out and the Today Show was filming there.
We used a tour group for our visit to the Vatican, called Roman Odyssey, and it was nice because our tour group only had 7 people. It was nice to be with a smaller group, versus some we saw with 30 people. We only had a few minute to spare once we reached the Vatican area, and we needed lunch, so we grabbed some sandwiches from a street vendor. These things were huge, and really good. They put it in a panini press, so it was nice and warm.
Once we found our group, we headed back over and started through the museum. With the Vatican, it is almost like a path through museum hall after museum hall, painting after painting, then through the Sistine Chapel and ending in St. Peter's Basilica.
We started with an exhibit that our guide said was rarely open, but he spotted that it was, so we headed in. Welcome to the Pope-mobile room!
Then these are the modern day cars.
A lovely courtyard.
Here are some random shots of some art in the museum, including some from the Faberge Egg display.
This is a famous painting by Raphael. The tour guide pointed out that the female form seems to be painted more manly, more like how Michelangelo painted his females. Raphael and Michelangelo were major rivals.
Another nice view.
More art. Trust me, there was a ton of art here. Obviously a lot was religious.
There was no photography allowed in the Sistine chapel, although we were told without flash would be OK, and so I did, and of course it was not really OK. After about 10 minutes of allowing the flashes to go off and others take without flash, the security picked up and they called for no more pictures. Out of respect, I will not be posting my photos here, and will instead keep them for my own personal memories. I will say that the ceiling, painted by Michelangelo, was extremely impressive, especially because he was a sculptor and not a painter.
The last stop was over to the Basilica.
Surprisingly, pictures were allowed in St. Peter's.
This is looking up through the dome in the basilica.
Again, lots of art work.
This is main focal point in the basilica. I wish I could remember who sculpted this, but it is also quite impressive.
Again, a shot of the dome, which I believe is the highest point in all of Rome. I think no other building was allowed to build higher.
Notice all the people. Look closely and you can see the procession of people for a ceremony that was taking place as we were inside.
Does this picture look familiar? This is the Raphael painting. The trick to determining which is the original is to look closely. In the basilica, this version is a mosaic. You would not know if you did not look closely. In fact, it turns out many paintings on the walls of churches where people would be likely to touch are made of tiles because they hold up better with all the touching that might occur.
That just about ended the tour. All the chairs are out, and I think this is for all the times when the Pope comes out. It could also have been because the Today show just finished filming there in St. Peter's Square. This is right where the Pope comes to his balcony and overlooks the people.
You might not know this, but the Pope is guarded by his own soldiers. This is the Swiss Guard. They are Swiss because some time ago, the Pope at that time was in danger, and it was the Swiss army that rescued him. Ever since, it has been the Swiss Guard that protects the Pope. They can't move. They have to remain still, while people take pictures. Gotta love the uniforms.
Oh, and then we had to check out the giant Pope.
So I posed with him.
One last look at St. Peter's Square.
After a great tour of the Vatican, we headed to the hotel...again on foot. We passed by the Castle San'tangelo.
Of course we had to cross over the river again.
Although there was not much time for relaxing, we did get a few minutes before heading to dinner. The first place we tried, and even had a reservation for, still had a wait. The place was packed and was just overwhelming. Needless to say there is no shortage on restaurants in Rome, so we tried another place we passed on the way to find the original place.
The meal started off nicely with a complimentary glass of Prosecco, which is a sparkling wine.
We split the mixed bruschetta (I am sure no one is surprised by this choice).
I has pasta pomodoro, while Ryan had the penne vodka, which is one of his favorites.
For the second course we split the fish. It was whole, but that was nothing for me. Ryan had no worries because I could totally take care of fixing up this fish. It was a delicious dinner.
But of course no meal in Italy is complete without the gelato. We were just walking and miraculously discovered this place called Giolitti. This place was awesome and had the biggest line I have ever seen. The good part was that you paid first so there was no way to get ripped off. This place has gelato down to a science. It was amazing.
See, happy face! YUM!
QUESTIONS: Would you like to visit the Vatican? Have you ever visited the Vatican? Have you ever had prosecco? When on vacation, what kind of transportation do you prefer?