Vatican City

Vatican City

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  • 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 close 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 which included a great view over St Peter's Square.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 that 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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  • Day2

    What a bustling place Rome is, the tourists don’t seem to mind waiting in the mile long queues at all the popular sites. 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 in 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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  • Day87

    The day before visiting the Vatican City we attempted to make our way to see the Pope, but after the ordeal of taking two trains and a bus overflowing with people, a perfect playground for a frotteurist, we decided to abort the trip – probably not something that would be condoned by the papacy. We quickly withdrew upon seeing the lines waiting outside the Vatican Museums and the hordes of ticket scalpers harassing us as we weaved our way to the end of the queue. Again, we're fairly sure the withdrawal method, while apparently a popular technique, wouldn't be supported by the Holy See.

    The following day, it was take two, with a slight variation on a theme. Once again the trains and buses were crammed with people. This time the platform at the metro was so packed that people were in such close proximity that normally people get to know one another first or at least buy a drink before getting into these positions. Not to mention that the health and safety department in Australia would have gone into overdrive if they had witnessed the events of people getting crushed by the closing train doors. After missing two packed trains, we eventually made it onto a train headed for the Vatican City.

    We finally arrived in the Vatican City and were confronted with the queue for Saint Peter's Basilica. The line trailed around the entire square and, after an hour and a half, we made it inside. People filled the room gawking at the opulence on display. Crowds were lined up to file past the statue of Saint Peter and rub his feet. Perhaps they have a foot fetish!

    The Vatican City was swarming with tour groups blocking the paths and generally imposing themselves on everyone else. Tour groups are the modern phalanx, warriors who are the frontline mowing down everything in their path. Fortunately this breed of tourist is only interested in ticking off sites listed in their Lonely Planet guide (tick-box tourists) and we were able to find some respite in some of the less popular museums. The reprieve from the tour groups was only short-lived as we braved the Sistine Chapel. Like herding cattle, we were ushered into the chapel to witness the work of Michelangelo. While we could appreciate the workmanship of the great artist, we were left underwhelmed, unlike the jaw-dropping statue of David.

    The Vatican City is comparable to Disneyland in way ways, with its merchandising, commercialism and long queues. The only difference is that the rides are basilicas and museums and there are no fast passes to skip the insane lines. Shops surrounding the city-state selling icons of saints reek of iconolatry, but all you need to do is confess, pay an indulgence and you will be granted absolution.

    Next stop: Ostia Antica

    For video footage, see:
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  • Day64

    Late start but made it to the Roman Forum and Palatine Hill (was included with our Colosseum ticket of yesterday). Did it at a brisk pace and was enjoyable. Would've been better if we hadn't already seen some amazing ruins (Pompeii and Paestum), but still fun. We definitely had fun making up historical stories about the ruins we saw. It was cool.

    Then got some free sparkling water from a fountain (yay!). And then continued on in the direction of Vatican City. Saw the Bernini Elephant (base of an obelisk) and nice streets. Browsed some shops. Had more fried anchovies and then got some pizza by the slice. Was slightly confused by ordering so Wade may have ordered way too much but a takeaway box cured that. The pizza was really good - warranted the recommendation. Reinforced the belief that simple is best - can see why people go for just margarita rather than fancy toppings.

    Then more walking. Saw the Castel Sant'Angelo - impressive.

    Then without any fuss we entered Vatican City. Saw St Peter's square and some Swiss guards in their fancy garb. Also lots of soldiers with big guns. No sightings of the elusive Pope though.

    With the combination of a giant line (even though we're currently in the low season), the uninspiring reviews that accompanied the 5 star ratings of the site, and the anticlimatic viewing of the Mona Lisa still fresh in our minds - we decided to give the Sistine Chapel and St Peter's Basilica a miss.

    Walked past Trajan's forum and Trajan's column. Both quite nice, especially in the evening with them all lit up. Had to dodge some bracelet scam artists - totally fine (we didn't get scammed) and a little bit funny.

    Then walked home, got some gelato and cannelloni (average) and had a rest. Day trip tomorrow!
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  • Day247

    So for some reason neither of us put on an alarm. First time that's happened lol
    Luckily we got up just in time.
    Or really a little too late to bother figuring out the train and/or metro. We decided to just get a taxi because there was no obvious direct route there.
    Very pleased with our driver - he used the meter and took a direct route. It even came in €3 under the lowest estimated price.
    12€ all up.
    The most expensive part was waiting to get out of the damn taxi bay because it's at the station and person after person kept walking in front.

    He dropped up pretty close - we had to just walk the straight line towards it.
    So many annoying people trying to get you to book a tour I ALREADY HAVE A TICKET DAMN IT.

    The annoying people did serve a purpose though - they directed us to the entrance which was a 10 minute walk from St. Peter's square which I didn't realize.
    Once we found the entrance I had a memory flashback.

    We paid an extra 4€ each to skip the line which turns out to have been a complete waste.
    Not a single person in front of us. We walked straight in 😪
    In summer the line was ridiculous so I guess better safe than sorry.
    We went through security checks, collected our hard copy ticket and entered country number 27✌🏼

    Signage was crap - no idea where to go - we ended up in an Egyptian artifacts room. We skimmed a lot of it but there was a exposed mummy body so that was cool. I also liked the statues because they different from European ones.

    I found it interesting that they talked of other gods. I know it's a museum but it still is the Vatican.
    Cool thought.

    Essentially the museum was just a shit tonne of statues.
    There was a corridor though which I want to have a sleepover in.
    I just want to put a mattress on the floor and look at the ceiling for hours. It was beautiful 😭😭😭 the corridor also had maps lining the walls.
    Once again a roof was my favourite part.
    We walked and walked and walked through rooms until we finally got to the Sistine chapel.
    I'll be straight to it. Not even slightly as nice as the corridor. Still cool to see. Took another illegal photo like I did last time.
    Will was surprised by it. He thought the finger touchy bit was the whole thing and that it was going to be really big and in a dome.
    It's just not as detailed as some. Still obviously fantastic but it was like half the lines were smudged.
    The room was very crowded.

    We walked through more corridors holding stuff from jewelry, old globes to what I think was a sewing machine.

    We were hungry so we left and went and got food. To enter straight through to St. Paul's basilica you had to be part of a tour and as we weren't that meant we had to join the line outside boo.

    But first, food.
    Wills was delicious except for the fragment of glass he spat out....

    Joined the line and it took maybe 30 mins to reach security.

    Honestly, you would think 99%+ people visiting would have been through and airport before. And yet every second person had to go through the gate 3+ times.

    They also only had 3 boxes to hold peoples bags as they went through the scanner so that caused some time delays too.

    Into the chapel we went.
    It's the biggest in the world.

    The colour scheme is actually quite boring. But walking around you start to absorb all the hidden details.
    Very nice.
    The roof is super high.

    The apostle peter is buried there. I remember I encountered the same problem last time I visited - I couldn't see down into the staircase/crypt from behind the barrier.
    Of course Will could 😒

    A few popes buried around the place.
    We just went in the free areas. Skipped the paid spots.
    We poor hahah

    There was a nun praying and it made me happy.

    Very nice 👏🏼👏🏼

    Walked to the pantheon.
    I remembered in school we all got yelled at inside by a worker because we were too loud.
    It's free too - but boring.. not pretty to look at. A big dome with a checkered roof. It was a pagan spot then got destroyed and rebuilt and converted.
    It's 2000 years old though so that aspect is an A+.

    A few men dressed in gladiator outfits outside made it fun.

    We then walked to the Trevi fountain to see it again.
    I bloody love it.

    Big walk home and I think I might have some blisters coming.
    The perils of new shoes eh?

    Chilled at the hostel then went across the road for dinner.
    AMAZING bruschetta but they tipped themselves... 😒😒

    Gave away a lot of money today 😩 this morning a lady approached us and said her bag was stolen and could we help her - she was British, we though she was gonna ask for directions when we stopped to help.
    As I am unable to say no I gave her 2€. I hope what she said was true.

    At the hostel now.
    Keen for tomorrow!!
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  • Day7

    Efter Cupola gick vi via taket (och souvernirshop) ner i själva basilikan. Fortfarande otroligt imponerande och vi gick och tittade på statyer, målningar, utsmyckningar mm. länge. Vi gick också ner i "grotto" där påvar m.fl. (inklusive Petrus, som räknas som den första påven) ligger begravna.

  • Day7

    Upp vid 06:00 och tog en Uber så vi var inne vid Petersplatsen lite efter 7. Smidigt, och ingen kö då. Otroligt fint ljus också!
    Gick först upp i kupolen till högsta balkongen (551 trappsteg). Häftig väg upp och lite större och lättare än den i Florens. Otroligt häftig utsikt över Rom där uppe, där man kunde se många landmärken i det fina morgonljuset.

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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