When in Rome one of the must see places is Vatican City. Vatican City is a walled enclave within Rome. With a population of 842 and a land area of 110 acres, it is the smallest state in the world by both land and population size. Our first stop was to see the Vatican Museums. We bought early admission tickets and I’m glad we did. We were allowed to go in the Vatican an hour before official opening time, and when we arrived an hour and a half before opening time the line to get in was already wrapping around the walls.
We aren’t museum people at all, so we honestly rushed through the museum. We walked the short itinerary and it was still a lot of stuff that didn’t interest us like old maps and stuff. The only reason we even were going into the museum was to see the Sistine Chapel. Of course, you have to literally walk through the entire Vatican Museum before you can see that.
About the only thing we stopped to really look for more than a minute was this mummy. We’ve seen a lot of mummies while in Europe between the British Museum and the Louvre, but never one where we could see exposed skin. It was different, but interesting to see how well the skin was preserved.
Finally we got to the Sistine Chapel. No photos allowed in there, but I took some anyway. I used the front facing camera on my phone and held my phone up towards the ceiling and snapped away as I walked. Not the best pictures ever, but I’m glad I got them. I totally got caught, but it was so crowded in that room that we were able to slip out before they made me delete the pictures.
The Sistine Chapel is tiny. We could barely move in it and we were there before the general public. I’ve heard from people who went during regular hours that it can take 30 minutes to get from the entrance to the exit. It’s maybe 100 feet from one end to the other. Yikes!
Our next stop was St. Peter’s Square. I could not believe how clean it was! In my last post I talked about how dirty Rome was. Well, Vatican City is very well maintained and it is quite the shock.
Another thing that was a nice change of pace was how little we were bugged in St. Peter’s Square. In Rome, you are always being bothered to buy something, sign a petition (it’s a scam), take the “best” tour of Rome. It’s exhausting. Rome is the worst place we have ever seen for people trying to sell us something. Vatican City as a little oasis. Nobody selling anything other than the nuns selling official souvenirs, and they didn’t bother you. You could look and not buy and they wouldn’t say a word.
We also saw several members of the Pontifical Swiss Guard in their colorful uniforms.
Our next stop was in St. Peter’s Basilica. It was large and very ornate.
Our trip to Vatican City was very nice. A short little reprieve from the craziness of Rome. If you like the Louvre (or just art in general) you would like the Vatican Museum. We didn’t see the Pope, but had we went just 24 hours later we would have spotted him! We met a couple on our return flight who were in St. Peter’s Square literally 24 hours after us and Pope Francis came out and waved. That would have been very cool to see.
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