Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Vatican

On our first full day in Rome we visited the amazing Vatican, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter's Basilica. It was quite a walk from our hotel but we opted to walk anyway. I think we logged some 20,000 steps that day!

After the long walk, we were jut outside the walls of the Vatican. I knew we were getting close as a very long line was formed all the way around the walls. I told everyone to keep going, that the simple reserving of tickets would allow us to bypass this craziness! Sure enough, we approached the front of the line and there was a separate area for those who had tickets reserved. Seriously, it takes minutes to do this online ahead of time, which I highly recommend!

A tiny part of the long line we bypassed by simply reserving our tickets ahead of time

Once inside and with our tickets in hand we saw all sorts of amazing artifacts. I decided last minute to add on the audio tour so we would really know what we were looking at and I'm glad I did. I got the children's audio tour for Braden (11) and Ava (9). Braden said he would have preferred the adult tour as the children's one was a bit "young" for him.

The Vatican Museum really is an incredible place that would take days to fully experience. I'll just share some photos and let the photos do the talking!

Inside the incredible Vatican Museum

The Bramante Staircase in the Vatican, which is a piece of art in and of itself

After spending time in the Vatican Museum, we visited the Sistine Chapel, no photos allowed. We spent a lot of time listening to the audio guide and gazing up at the ceiling that Michaelangelo famously painted. We were shuttled in like cattle, but I understand order needs to be kept in a place like this. For a moment, the photo-lover in me wanted to "steal" a pic, but I opted to not only observe the rules to be an example to my kids but also to simply just enjoy being in the moment. A photo of the ceiling would have not meant much later on as it would not have properly captured how incredible it really was. We all quietly reflected with our necks cranked and our eyes turned skyward, gazing at the masterpiece on the ceiling while listening to our audio guide.

Once we finished visiting the Sistine Chapel, we headed to St. Peter's Basilica. This church was absolutely incredible. It was so much larger than expected, the ceilings so vast, the details so intricate, everything was just on a much, much larger scale than can be imagined.
Outside of The Vatican

The incredible St. Peter's Basilica

We made our way out of the Vatican, but first stopped to watch the Swiss Guards in their unique uniforms.

Swiss Guard at the Vatican

We ate at another local restaurant for dinner. The ambiance was lovely in the evening. We had a funny moment with Braden: the waiter asked how they liked their food and Braden decided to be honest by explaining the pasta in Italy is a bit too salty, he prefers the American style. Oh my! I bet the Italian waiter was shocked at that! I guess fresh pasta tastes different than our hard, ol' American pasta, especially to an 11-year-old!

Another wonderful restaurant in Rome, even if it had "salty pasta" according to Braden!

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