Day 8: Vatican II
So there was a papal audience this morning. Apparently you can either 1) request tickets way in advance, 2) ask the guards at St. Peter’s the day before (which I didn’t find out until last night), or 3) by standing at the back of the square (I could’t confirm this). The papal audience sounds cool, but I’m not actually Catholic, and apparently lines at the Vatican Museums (which includes the Sistine Chapel) are shorter on mornings when there is a papal audience, so I decided to go to the museums instead.
Despite my hesitancy, I paid a something more to skip the line in a “tour group” that existed entirely to skip lines. In the end, probably worth it. I didn’t want to stand in line all day as the day got hotter.
The Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel were great. Again, museums aren’t great for pictures, but here are a few from the old Papal Apartment.
The Sistine Chapel is just amazing. Photography is banned (not that that stopped some of the more disrespectful tourists, ugh) so nothing here, just noting that it was totally awe-inspiring and a must-see for anyone in the Christian faith, not just Catholics.
I bought some tourist stuff for family (have to get a couple more back in Barcelona) and some flags for myself (I planning on putting flags from every country I visit along a wall in my basement — pics to come when I get back and get that done.
I was surprised to see several Filipino-owned businesses (I assume this is why they had a Philippines flag out front). I guess it makes sense since the Philippines are the largest Catholic nation, just a surprise. In a funny moment for my efforts to blend in and look less touristy, I had a kid (he looked 15 or 16) working in a shop try to get my attention by speaking to me in Spanish first because he thought I looked Spanish.
After wandering around aimlessly for a while to just take in the city (and try to get away from the tourists a bit — Rome is amazing as a city but feels a bit claustrophobic at times) I went up Aventine Hill. My previously-mentioned friend Bonnie told me to go to Villa del Priorato dei Cavalieri di Malta at dusk.
I first stopped in some gardens that had some amazing views of the city (including the header picture here)
No great pictures from Villa del Priorato dei Cavalieri di Malta (an iPhone can’t take a picture through a keyhole very well), but I’m link this elsewhere just because it was so damn cool.
So much to see in Rome. I hit the biggest highlights, but I still feel like I barely scratched the surface. Back to Barcelona for tomorrow afternoon and then back to the States Friday.