Vatican City

Vatican City

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  • Day37

    The worlds smallest independent international state, a walled off enclave within Rome, and home to approx 800 people.

    Consisting of the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, St Peter's Bascilica, and of course St Peter's Square. Michelangelo's artwork adorns the walls and ceiling of the Sistine Chapel and took him five years to complete.

    Also climbed the stairs up and into the dome with breathtaking views of Rome from the top.Read more

  • Day4

    St. Peters Basilica, and the climb up to the top of the dome were absolutely unbelievable. The view from the top was one of the best I've had in my life. Still going back to detail some points more specifically. We got there at 7:30 in the morning and the lighting was appropriately heavenly. Just breathtaking to be standing there. Makes one feel very, very small, both physically and chronologically (?). There's a picture of Dad sightseeing with a Nun by his side, and of St. Peter's tomb. (The first pope)Read more

  • Day28

    The organ was playing in the Basilica during our visit as some visiting clergy were partaking of Mass. The Basilica is awe-inspiring in its scale. A number of colleagues at work had suggested we do the walk up to the Cupola, which we did. Luckily there is a lift to the first level which gives a closer up view of the internal ceiling and mosaics of the dome, and then after a lot of twisting and turning on the barely-wide-enough stairs, you pop out at the very top of the dome with 360 degree views of Rome. It gave a great view over St Peter's Square too.Read more

  • Day28

    Today, we continued our mastery of the Roman public transport system and took the Metro to Vatican City. I had booked us in on a tour of the Vatican Gardens, because we could then skip the queues to the Museums + we also got access to the little door at the back right of the Sistene Chapel which gave us access straight into the Basilica (and when we saw that queue, were glad of the opportunity to do so). Do you get the idea that queues are an issue?

    The gardens were lovely, but is to be expected when there are 50 full time gardeners employed to tend them. There were great views of the dome of the Basilica as you walked through the gardens. They are closed to tourists in the afternoon so that they can be used by the Pope and other residents of Vatican City in the afternoons. On the grounds is the apartment of the former pope, who apparently was in residence when we were there (something to do with windows being open etc).
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  • Day38

    We had breakfast at home before heading out for coffee. Grace, Dane and I then walked to the St Peters Basilica at the Vatican. After queuing we entered and looked around. The building is so incredible and full of intricate details, mosaics, sculptures and tombs. We walked up all the stairs to the top of the dome. Views of Rome were pretty specky! There was a cafe on to roof so we grabbed a bite to eat before heading over to the Vatican Museum. The crowds inside were epic and made it not too enjoyable. It was like sardines as we made our way through the many halls to the Sistine chapel. After we had gelato and found a drinks spot on the river. Next was Bir and Fud where we had a trio of arancini balls. We met Belinda for dinner at Da Augusto in Travestere which had authentic Italian pasta, rabbit and tiramisu. We returned back to Bir and Fud more beers, Dane liked it there!Read more

  • Day26

    No sleep-in today! We were up early to join an early morning tour with Walks of Italy: Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica. It was so pretty and comfortable to walk the along the Tiber River to Vatican City to meet the group at 7:45 a.m. Our guide Vincento greeted us warmly and it as clear we were in good hands with his knowledge and enthusiasm.

    We did have 'skip the line tickets' through the tour but we learned quickly, it didn't mean skip every line! We still had to wait 20 minutes outside the Vatican Museum along with the other tour groups that had 'skip the line' access!!! Thank goodness we were on the shaded side of the city, hugging the defensive walls designed by Michelangelo (I think I might have liked him quite a bit given his many talents and his amazing mind. It's been so interesting learning more about him, his influence and lifetime contributions to his time!). At that time of the morning it was already 30 degrees! (Midday it was 36 (feels like 41!).

    Vincento gave us a poster of what we would see in the Sistine Chapel and explained the history and the controversy around some of the images. We aren't supposed to speak in the chapel and no photos allowed so it was good to have the time ahead to hear the details! Of course, there were still many people speaking/whispering. A few in particular, despite dirty looks and reminders, which the Parker boy (an parents) found to be very disrespectful and disruptive.

    The History: It turns out, the Pope at the time, asked Michelangelo to paint the inside of the chapel, which, architecturally BTW is very simple - a rectangular room. Michelangelo said no at first, thinking he would be ruled, as all were then, by what the Pope wanted not rather than being able to use his own artistic creativity. The Pope asked a second time, given Michelangelo full rein on what he would paint. Well, Michelangelo agreed to this and completed 500 sq meters of painting - the entire ceiling 'the Sistine Chapel vault' -in 4 years (1508-1512). That may seem like a long time but imagine the space, painting with your neck strained and paint dripping on you with the result being this masterpiece. I can't, even after the 20+ minutes we had in the chapel, we were complaining of sore necks! The controversy was that a few of the images were seen as very inappropriate and many thought the painting should be redone or censored. Thankfully, the Pope kept his word and supported the work of Michelangelo, saying he thought the paintings were good.

    In 1536, Michelangelo was asked to paint the far wall of the chapel - The Last Judgment. He did and completed it in 1541, at 67 years old! That is quite a feat given life expectancy at the time was 50 years old!

    St Peter's Basilica was beautiful. It was just as beneficial to have a tour guide there as well. The Basilica is the biggest in the world and truly lives up to that! It seemed to go on forever with chapels and side rooms and tombs around every corner. Really magnificent piece of work. St. Peter's tomb was and the main alter above it was incredible and it doesn't take much to understand the intelligence and genius that went into the architecture and engineering of the building! The boys did great and I know enjoyed much of the tour but we were all hot and tired by the end of it and were ready to find some AC, more water, get off our feet and to cool down. Well, almost!

    We did decide to visit the crypts before we left which was quick and not necessarily worth it. Then was the question of climbing to the top of the dome of the Basilica. Connely was not at all interested. He was HOT and had to go to the bathroom. Nay's feet and legs were hurting but seemed more willing. Mommy and Daddy said we couldn't leave without doing it, so we did. A short lift up partway then another 231 steps - winding and getting narrower the whole way! See photos. And, despite C having to climb down a bit early due to personal needs, we were glad we did. There were amazing views of Rome although we had a tough time picking out key landmarks... Rome is really socked in! The bonus was that we ran into the Kilpatricks up top! What are the chances?!

    BTW- the tour guides all carry microphone and we have head sets so that we can easily hear the voice without having to be within feet of the guide.
    All the facts provided before we went in made the visit that much more meaningful. Money well spent, we agreed!

    Once the tour was over we found a cool treat, and bought our tickets to the Hop On Hop Off bus as a way to get around Rome with a little breeze and while giving our legs a little break. I can't emphasize how hot it feels here. There are people setting frozen water bottles at most corners and they are bought up quickly for 1 Euro each. We have had our fair share of them, that is for sure! Brian even took off his shirt while waiting in line for the bus and drenched it in water. The Bus ride was a nice break and while we sat up top with the breeze, the shade was pulled over the top so we were also covered. We made our way around the round toward the Piazza Venezia, being sure to keep an eye out for the Colosseum and the Forum - neither disappointed. We look forward to learning more about both during our tour tomorrow night. Nathan was particularly interested in seeing the Colosseum and was impressed when it came into view.

    We eventually hoped off for the short walk back to Trastevere and stopped for a little fruit to help cool us down - a little watermelon and a mixed bowl of berries, cantaloupe and pineapple. Everyone was flushed and appetites were small due to the heat but we did know we needed to eat. Luckily we found an air-conditioned restaurant close to our apartment (AC isn't as easy to come by as you may think), so we stopped in for some ravioli and pesto and a steak for the boys! Yum and hit the spot. We then headed home for our daily, much needed Siesta in Rome! A little cool-down, nap and whatever is very needed at the end of a busy morning!

    As we were thinking about getting going again, the Hunters stopped in. Their last night in Rome and they were passing a few hours before they did a tour of the Colosseum. Neat to see them and to get caught up on their last few days. We followed closely behind once they left and decided to catch the Night Hop On Hop Off to see the Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain and the Piazza Barberni. Check, Check and Check.

    The Trevi Fountain was a must stop for Connely. He had been fixated on us getting a dog over the past several weeks. While he has mentioned in many times before, the discussions lately are much more intentional and thoughtful on his part. He was keen to make a wish properly on site - coin held in right hand tossed over left shoulder for best chances of it coming true. Wonder what he wished for?!

    The Spanish Steps were on Mommy's list and while impressive, we didn't get there until after dark and it is likely they are more impressive during the day. Either way, we climbed to the top, counting each step, of course, with a result of 136 - Nathan, Mommy and Daddy. We later read that there are in fact 135. Kinda feel like we had it right and the fact book didn't! Oh well! It was though to get a good picture in the dark but we tried.

    Piazza Barberni offered us a photo opportunity of the fountain Fontana del Tritone... oh, and a rose was offered for the moment, much to Connely's pleasure. Thank you lovely man who insisted we have a rose for the picture at 'no money' despite much resistance. We did insist the rose be given back to the man after the photo. Connely, the guy who wants to give a few coins to every street performer and beggar on the street, was less than impressed with his parents.

    We hoped to catch the bus home but walked right by our stop which meant not seeing the Colosseum and night (we will tomorrow night!), and a much longer walk for tired legs. We did it though, in bed by 11:30 p.m. for a good night's sleep... hopefully!

    Loving Rome, the Eternal City but it is kicking the poop out of us!
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  • Day2

    What a bustling place Rome is, amazingly the tourists don’t seem to mind waiting in the mile long queues. Thankfully we decided to do the Hop on Hop off bus with a skip the line guided tour of the Vatican, Sistine Chapel and Saint Peter’s Basilica. The guide, an Art Historian, was brilliant. We walked through the Vatican Museum and Papal Apartments of Pope Julius II at a slow walk with the guide commenting as we went, there were so many people crammed inside you often got caught up in another group or lost altogether except for the sound of her voice in your earpiece. It was a very full on 3 hour tour.
    The Vatican City has only 230 residents and is an area of 44 hectares. During Pope Julius II time he commissioned the painting of the Sistine Chapel ceiling by Michelangelo and various rooms in the Vatican by Raphael and this is what we viewed today. The artwork and details just blow you away. The fresco art lasts so long as it is painted fresh when the mortar is still damp, that way the colour becomes part of the mortar. We had a talk about the Sistine Chapel before entry as there is supposed to be silence and no photography. Quite amusing to watch the sneaky photos being taken and when the hum from the floor becomes too much you hear over the loudspeaker SILENCE, the voice sounded just like Dumbledore from Harry Potter. We then were taken to the Basilica, what an amazing place, everything is enormous, the Papal Canopy and altar stunning. What a wonderful day. We finished this off with gelato and Fritto and Pasta for dinner.
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  • Day4

    Lots and lots of extremely opulent paintings and other pieces of art from the great masters (Michelangelo, Raphael, Dali...)

You might also know this place by the following names:

State of the Vatican City, Staat der Vatikanstadt, Vatican City, Vatikaan, Vatican Man, ቫቲካን, الفاتيكان, Vatikan, Ватыкан, Ватикана, Vatikaŋ, ভ্যাটিকান সিটি, ཝེ་ཊི་ཀན།, Ciutat del Vaticà, Vatikán, Y Fatican, Pavestolen (Vatikanstaten), Vatikandu nutome, Βατικανό, Vatikano, Ciudad del Vaticano, Vatikano Hiria, واتیکان, Dowla Waticaan, Vatikaanivaltio, Vatican, An Vatacáin, Cidade do Vaticano, વેટિકન, Batikan, עיר הותיקן, वेटिकन सिटि, Grad Vatikan, Վատիկան, Kota Vatikan, Páfagarður, Vaticano, ローマ法王庁 (バチカン市国), ვატიკანი, Vatikani, វ៉ាទីកង់, ವ್ಯಾಟಿಕನ್, 바티칸시티, ڤاتیکان, Vatikaani, Vatiká, ວາຕິກັນ, Vatikano miestas, Nvatika, Vatikāns, Firenen'i Vatikana, Ватикан, വത്തിക്കാന്‍, व्हॅटिकन, ဗာတီကန်, Vatikanet, Vatican State, भेटिकन, Heilige stoel (Vaticaanstad), Vatikanstaten, ଭାଟିକାନ୍, Stolica Apostolska (Watykan), Citad dal Vatican, Umurwa wa Vatikani, Orașul Vatican, Vatikána, Letëe tî Vatikäan, Faatikaan, Vatikanen, வாடிகன், వేటికెన్, นครรัฐวาติกัน, Місто Ватикан, واٹیکن سٹی, Thành phố Vatican, Orílẹ́ède Fatikani, 圣座(梵蒂冈), i-Vatican City

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