This morning I left my hostel and began walking through Rome. Somehow I stumbled upon the Vatican. That was a bit of a ‘woah’ moment for me! My original plan for the day was to take a day trip to Tivoli and visit Hadrian’s Villa, but unfortunately it is a bit of a mission to get there so I scraped that and decided to spend the day exploring the Trastevere area of Rome, on the West side of the Tibor River.
Sarah who I met in Rome had told me about it, saying the streets are skinny and cobblestoned and it's the perfect place for a cheap and delicious meal. It also happened to be the area that the Gianicolo hill was in, which I had included in my list of things I wanted to do in Rome because it had great views over the city.
It was about five kilometres away, but I still wanted to walk as opposed to getting the metro because there is always so much to see here. Gianicolo is further south than the Vatican, but after I made it past the Pantheon I must have headed on a street going north. When I crossed a bridge to the other side of the river and walked a minute or two further, I could see the Vatican. I decided not to get any closer because that is tomorrow's adventure, so I followed the river south into Trestevere.
Sarah was right about it, because the streets were delightful and I found a restaurant which had Marinara pizza for 3€!!! On the other side of the river it would be double, if not more than double, that. I got one to takeaway and sat it on a bench chair to the side of one of the adorable cobblestone streets. It was delicious and so, so fresh. It may be one of my favourite pizzas ever and it's literally just tomato sauce and the perfect about of garlic and herbs. Simple yet delicious.
After I'd eaten I headed up Gianicolo, and at first I was disappointed. The view was obstructed by trees and you couldn't really see much. That was until I realised I had walked up from the wrong side. The further I walked, the better the views got. Rome’s skyline is dominated by cathedral domes and the huge Altare della Patria but it is so cool from above! It looked so different to any other city I'd seen, and it was fun to try and figure out where the different landmarks were. I found that it also really helped me find my bearings and I feel like now Rome is the city I would be able to map out best after London.
I made my way back down the hill and back over the river where I began mission ‘find something to wear that will allow me entry to the Vatican’. I sent home all my pants except for a pair of black leggings when I was in Berlin, and considering I've had nothing but hot weather since I haven't really felt the need to buy anything long. That posed a problem here though, because churches have dress codes where knees and shoulders must be covered (I will control my urge to rant about that!). Anyway, I was not keen on overheating in the black leggings, and let's be honest, I'm always down for a reason to shop. I found some cute cropped pants with a tropical print. I hope the Pope likes them!
Tomorrow’s forecast is for morning thunderstorms which should make my trip to the Vatican, and the inevitable wait in line, interesting. I might have to finally give up my self respect and buy a waterproof poncho. As cynical as I am about the whole thing, I think the Vatican will be a cool experience and I am super excited about all the incredible artwork and Michaelangelo’s Sistine Chapel ceiling. After I'm done there I'm also going to get my money's worth out of the church appropriate pants by finally going inside the Pantheon. I've walked past it everyday but there is no way you can appreciate the dome from outside. It's going to be another great day in Rome, I can feel it!