Today is Monday, 2012-08-13, and all attractions are closed in Rome. Today is a good day to visit Vatican.
We ate breakfast across the street from our hotel in a place called “Il Lunch” (€16 – 11:42). We are slowly gaining strength against the 6-hour time difference.
|Monday – 11:47 – The best day to visit Vatican (€15). This is not a Vatican, but very close indeed.||Vatican – public entrance. Lines are reasonable -10-15 minutes, but credit cards machines are always broken – bring cash|
Few more paces (about 1 km), and we are now in Vatican (€30 cash only as credit card machines are down – 12:36). Plenty of people, but lines are manageable. Several control points quickly collect money, issue tickets, and feed entire country with valuable currency.
Entire museum is a giant loop. First round you are going in dense cloud of people to the farthest point of the loop – trying to reach the Sistine Chapel. On the way you might catch a glimpse of two of other things that are hanging on the walls and standing on the floor. But all your thoughts are ahead. Press forward. Forward. When, when and when do you see the coveted Chapel?
|English: Sistine Chapel / Italian: Cappella Sistina||Painting is called Sistine Madonna by Raphael (La Madonna di San Sisto – 1512), but it has nothing to do with Sistine Chapel and it lives in Dresden Gallery|
Finally, a long, slow and crowded flight of stairs up, a turn . . . and you are there.
No pictures or videos are allowed, but everyone is doing it. This is so typical, and so perfect. This creates an atmosphere of secrecy, excitement and achievement. Every square meter and every bench along the walls is crowded with tourists. You can spend here 2 hours or 5 minutes. People are trying to make sense of all the religious works that surrounds them. All Michelangelo work is on the ceiling and on the entrance wall – so people raise their heads high to view.
We did 2 rounds of the museum. On the first round we exited Sistine Chapel through the door to the left – to return to the museum entrance. When back in the lobby, we bought a post card and a stamp at Vatican post office (15:15). With some impromptu verse this post card would travel all the way to Massachusetts to be placed on prominent spot in the house.
On the second round we made an extra effort to track and stop by at Raphael rooms to view the famous gigantic pictures. This time we exited Sistine Chapel through the door to the right to go directly to Basilica Papale di San Pietro (St. Peter Basilica). This is a good move, if you do not have any umbrellas, or backpacks, or garments deposited at the entrance.
Emotional energy was exhausted by the time I arrived to the world largest church. I was simply sitting in front of some icon and cooling my naked feet on a marble floor.
|Heavy rain cleared the main square and gave a perfect photo opportunity.||On the way back at 23:42 we took another picture of the same cathedral. This is taken from Ponte Unmberto I with 10x magnification|
Strong rain caught us under the rounded arks on St. Peter square. Here we met 2 couples from Italy and Check Republic. One of the guys spoke Russian and Italian. Caught together by the rain, we tried to make sense of common words and expressions.
Sun and rain fought with each other, but neither can gain an upper hand. We ventured out of the safety of St. Peter arks to get to Ristorante Taverna Vegetariana (Via Trionfale 94). We got a bit frustrated, and a bit wet from rain, and above all the restaurant was closed with no specific explanations why.
To enhance our strength we bought 2 fresh fruit shakes (€7 – 19:14). If you order at the counter – the shake is €2.50. If you sit down – it is €3.50. We found another one of those L’Insalata Ricca places (Piazza del Risorgimento, 5). This location right next to Vatican wall had a free Wi-Fi. Any time we encountered a free Internet we tried to catch on all the delayed questions, new Italian words and problems that we did not find answers yet to economize the all too precious iPhone data plan. Every day till August 23 we could use about 8 MB of cell data not to exceed allowed 100 MB (Verizon Wireless).
This time I ordered a Pizza Diavolo – the closest thing to American pepperoni pizza. Again, thanks to Rick Steves we knew that, if we to order “Peperoni” pizza, we would get a pizza with green peppers (€20 – 20:35).
On the way home we bought a small Listerine (€4.90), and we even found a place that sold soy ice cream and replenished our sugars.
We returned home (to the hotel) around 10PM, and decided to continue our exploration. We even had energy to take an evening stroll to the center of Rome. We walk to Spanish Step, and to Fontana di Trevi, once more to Pantheon, across Tiber through Ponte Umberto I with a perfect night views of none other than St. Peter Basilica.
We returned back to the hotel just as Cinderella did at a stroke of midnight.
Navigate through the List
- Italy 2012 August - Roma, Firenze, Napoli and between (2018/04/19)
- Aug 10-11 FRI-SAT - A two-day flight to Rome (2018/04/23)
- Aug 12 SUN - First steps in Rome - Pantheon (2018/04/27)
- Aug 13 MON - Vatican (2018/05/01)
- Aug 14 TUE - Colosseum (2018/05/05)
- Aug 15 WED - Getting the car - Starting North - Viterbo (2018/05/09)
- Aug 16 THU - Bagnoregio in Lazio, Orvieto in Umbria (2018/05/13)
- Aug 17 FRI - Orvieto - Montepulciano - Siena (2018/05/17)
- Aug 18 SAT - Siena - Villa Galileo - Firenze - Day 1 (2018/05/21)