Guided tour of Vatican city. See St Peter’s Basilica, admire Michelangelo’s Pieta, and visit the Sistine Chapel. Visit the Catacombs. Night photoa of Vatican, more Roman Monuments.
What We Did
I woke up at 6:45 to take a shower and get ready for the day. Breakfast was at 7:30, and we were to meet on the bus at 8:00. A bunch of the group didn’t eat breakfast, as they wanted to sleep more and/or they didn’t like/trust the food. The food was alright, limited selection however. Somehow, I lost the photo of my breakfast, which was a croissant with butter/jam, bread with cheese and meat, coffee, orange juice. The croissant was very good I must say. The other parts of the breakfast were pretty sub par. Once we were on the bus, we took an hour and a bit to get to our first stop, which was the Catacombs. Cameras were not allowed in the Catacombs, but phones were, and smaller cameras.. It didn’t really make sense to me, but anyways, the end result is that I got no photos of the catacombs. Avery’s phone was dead due to the plugs in her room not working, which is the reason I didn’t use her phone to take photos. On the way to the catacombs, we were given these EF tour transmitters. They are for our tour guides so we can plug into the channel and they can speak to us through the provided headphones. The tour of the catacombs was cool, although our tour director was a bit boring and it was bit slow paced and hard to hear her. Inside, it was pretty chilly, and a bit small. There were 150,000 people buried in that catacomb that we went into if I heard right!! The tour wasn’t very long, and then we were on the bus to Saint Paul’s Basilica.
Here are some cool photos of just outside the walls of the Basilica. The pictures of the man with a sword is St. Paul, and the one with the key is St. Peter. St Paul is seen to be holding a sword, as he was executed for his beliefs in Christianity, and due to him being a Roman citizen, Roman law dictated that he be killed in a humane way. They decapitated him with a sword. For a lot of Catholic statues or paintings, if the subject is holding something that looked like it could kill, then it was probably used to kill that person. It is common practice to have the martyr hold the device that they were killed with and for St. Paul it was the sword. St Peter on the other hand, is depicted with two keys, one gold, to open the gates of heaven; the other silver, to close the gates of heaven. These are the whole reason why the Vatican exists because Jesus told Peter: “you are my rock, upon you I will build my church and give you the keys to heaven.” (http://ikangaroo.com/2009/06/26/the-vatican-10-symbols-to-know/) I was told this during tour (new tour guide, who was great!), and then to confirm everything I referred to that website.
We then went inside which I bet you could have guessed was magnificient. Every pope has their picture up, the first and current shown below.
Next, we went back on the bus, and rode it to be dropped off for lunch right by our next visit: the Vatican. We saw some neat things on the bus ride including the Pyramid of Gaius Cestius.
Our lunch place was the tour director’s families’ restaurant, and he told us we should all go there. He asked who of us didn’t want to go, and hyped up the place a bunch, so no one said no. 14 euros we paid, for a set menu of pasta, salad, tiramisu, and coke/water. I felt like we had to go there, and didn’t speak up because I didn’t feel like being “that guy”, and it didn’t sound bad! However, it turned out to be not very good. The salad was alright, salty. Every single salad I’ve had so far, in Europe has been salty. I don’t understand this trend, and it always makes the salads taste not very good. Maybe it’s to scam you into buying more drinks? I’m not sure, but it’s not tasty, and it does cause me to drink a lot, which is one good thing about it I suppose. The pasta was two types, one meat sauce and the other a orange zest pasta. The meat sauce one was pretty good, but the orange one wasn’t the best, Avery got just the orange zest pasta, due to her being a non meat-eater, and was disappointed as well. We then had tiramisu, which was alright. I find my self being very picky about my lunches here in Italy, ever since found out the potential of how good the lunches can be that one pasta lunch on day..2 I believe? (The smaller restaurant, where Zach, Niklas, Avery, and I went). Anyhow, it’s not a big deal. I really like our tour guide. He is a short Italian man, who is very kind, and I can understand why he did what he did to get us to come. I’m sure it would have been a lot better, had it not been a set menu.
Vatican city was a five minute walk from there, and we waited in a short line to get in. Thousands of people who didn’t have reservations stood in line. It must have taken at least 3 hours for some of the to get in. Our group, having a reservation, took about ten minutes to get in. Did you know that twenty-five thousand people visit the Vatican a day! Insane. A security check was done, and then we were in. Once inside, I took a lot of photos. The golden sphere was pushed around by our tour guide so it span! It’s really weird to think that the Vatican city is it’s own country. If you were born there, what would your nationality be? Would you get a Vatican passport?
We then went into the Vatican Museum (I’m fairly sure it’s called that). We learned why most the statues that are male, have their privates covered. It’s because one of the pope’s found it inappropriate and so came and put them over everywhere. There was some that didn’t get covered, and a different pope came and destroyed the privates. Years later, they decided to uncover the fig leaves, but by uncovering, it broke the privates, so they decided just to keep them on. In the bottom right photo, that is the last actual bronze statue left. Every other was taken and the bronze was used for other things, but this one, was hid underground to prevent that!
One of rooms was filled with tapestries, which is the only one that has air conditioning. That is because these tapestries are so large and are made to keep the heat in.
The pope’s actually body!! (top row)
Once we left the museum, we went into the Sistine Chapel for about 20 minutes. No photos in there, and no talking. I just sat on a bench and looked in awe at the famous paintings. For those of you who don’t know them, I’d highly recommended looking them up and looking at the explanation of them. It’s so remarkable! Our tour director told us all the details of the main paintings. Next, we were out, and had free time in the Vatican City. We stopped at a gift shop[, where Niklas and I bought rosemary beads, that were black. When you buy them there, they get blessed by the priest, which is where they are now. We will get them back soon and then I’ll take a photo of them.
We then left the Vatican city, and we walked to the Navonna Piazza where we had another block of free time. Niklas, Avery and I went around to different places, including a chocolate shop, gift shop, crepe place, and a few other places. Avery got some hot chocolate which we split, and I got a strawberry Nutella crepe which was amazing. I ate it so quick I forgot I had a camera and didn’t take a picture of it! We also grabbed some fries, in which the three of us split. They were very good and came up hot sauce! Right before we were to meet, I bought a selfie stick for 5 euros off a street vendor (bartered from 10).
Dinner was next…Eating so much wasn’t the smartest idea! Salad, pizza, and ice cream. The pizza was great, and the salad was good, but salty. Niklas, Avery and I were too full too eat the ice cream so we peer pressured Zach into eating it. Our friend Steven sat with us as well, and Zach ate some of his as well. “Children are out there starving, c’mon Zach”, was just one of the things we put on him. We all had a good laugh, and to our surprise he did eat all the ice cream!! Well done Zach, didn’t see that one coming.
After dinner was done, we headed to the famous Trevi Fountain. On the way to the fountain, we stopped and took photos of another monument. Apparently, the fountain is a famous kissing place as well, so me and Avery took a few cute photos! I took a small fast group of photos of Nik doing the infamous throw over the left shoulder coins into the fountain.
Avery then got kiwi and cherry gelato, and then we walked to bus and rode home. WE found yet another bug in the room, and killed it. Again, my bad, I’ll take photos of room tomorrow, promise. Everyone headed to sleep quick and then I blogged! Hope you enjoyed the read, thanks for feedback, it really brightens my day!
Quote of the blog:
One of my favourites ever!
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
― Augustine of Hippo