Sunday, November 6, 2011

Italy- Oct. 30, Vatican City!

Thanks to daylight savings time, when we woke up at 7am to venture to the Vatican, it didn't do too much damage on our sleep pattern. It was like sleeping in until 8am! Win.
We got really lucky, and happened to ask our hostel attendants about the best way to get to the Vatican and ended up learning that the last Sunday of each month was free entrance to the Vatican museums and St. Peter's Basilica. And we just happened to be in Rome on the last Sunday, which meant that we saved 15 euros! Win again. We decided to take the metro, because the museums opened at 8:45 and we heard that the line was always really long. We were a little concerned when basically the entire metro got off at the Vatican stop, but we weren't prepared at all for the line that snaked it way through the streets for the museum. It is literally the longest line I have ever seen in my life. We just kept walking... and walking... and walking! Luckily we only waited for an hour and 40 minutes, better than we expected after seeing the line. There were so many people though.
The Vatican Museums have one of the largest collection of artifacts in the world, so it was awesome to walk around and see everything on display. For example, this famous statue:

It was really crowded though, so you didn't have as much time to look at things and you could have. We also went through the Map Room, which I had never even heard of, but was blown away by! The entire ceiling was made up of paintings, and they were all beautiful.
After this, we were herded like cattle down a few corridors in the direction of the Sistine Chapel. When we finally made it, it was incredible. I can't even begin to describe how amazing the chapel is... the entire ceiling as well as the walls were painted by Michelangelo, and it is clear that that man had a crazy God-given talent. The walls were painted so that they looked like curtains, and it actually fooled me. And the ceilings also were painted to look like 3D images, when it was actually flat. I could have stayed in there for hours. I particularly liked looking at the famous painting of the Creation of Adam. as remarkable, and the more I stared at it the more y recommend that if you ever make it to Rome, you see the Sistine Chapel. The only downside was that it was supposed to be silent and photos weren't allowed, but people didn't follow either or those rules. It was a little frustrating, but we didn't let it get us down.
Afterwards, we made our way to St. Peter's Basilica, where we waited in another huge line to get in. Once again, totally worth it.
Inside, it was very beautiful. One of the interesting things that I learned is that just inside the door on your right, there is a statue by Michelangelo that is behind bullet-proof glass. Apparently this is because in the 70s or 80s, someone came in with an axe and started trying to chop up the statue now it's very protected!
Just inside the Basilica

The remains of one of the Popes

A statue that I enjoyed.

Random processional. We didn't know what it was for, but they sang beautifully!

Holy water!
After our trip, we decided to see more of Rome by walking back to our hostel. Though it took us about 2 hours to walk back, it was worth it because we got to see a market, a beautiful sunset, and lots of other old architecture.
When we got back, we met our new roommates, two American girls from Florida who were studying in Milan. We went with them and our other American friends to the free pizza and wine party put on by the hostel. It was fun, but there was not enough food to satisfy us. The two girls decided to go to a little restaurant near the Trevi Fountain, and invited us to go with them. My other travel companions were too tired, but I was all ready to go. So we took the metro to see the fountain for the first time, at night. It was gorgeous!
Standing out in bright green
The two girls that I met were amazing! They had these meal coupons that worked at select restaurants in Italy, so they offered to use them for our food. We ordered prosciutto and mozzarella, bruschetta, red wine, and a margherita pizza, with tiramisu for dessert. Everything was delicious and I had a great time chatting about their adventures in Italy and their lives in the States. It seems that I meet Americans everywhere, and they are always extremely kind. I've really been enjoying learning more about our neighbours to the South!
See that white glob of cheese in the background? BEST mozzarella EVER.

We happened to have the same waiter as the girls had had the night before, who was very nice and enjoyed speaking to them in Italian. He was very generous and gracious, and always came to check and make sure we were doing well. At the end of our meal, he brought us three glasses of lemoncello, on the house! I learned that this is what the Italians do when they like you as a guest, so we were very flattered. It was my first time tasting lemoncello, and it was delicious!
Overall, it was a wonderful evening and I had a great time with the two American girls. It was the perfect way to end off another amazing day in Rome!

1 comment:

  1. What a great recap! when I went to the Vatican, the Sistine Chapel was closed - so disappointing! I think the statue that was attacked by a crazy guy with an axe is La Pieta, right? Your meal looks and sounds AMAZING, and isn't the Trevi Fountain at night jawdroppingly gorgeous?

    Ahh, bella Roma :) sounds like you had an amazing time!