On our third day in Rome we headed to the Vatican City, a tiny independent city inside Rome known for being the Pope’s main hang-out. We had pre-booked a tour and we knew to expect crowds, but the mob scene through the Vatican museums and the Sistine chapel were still beyond what we had imagined! We saw some beautiful things, including Michaelangelo’s incredible ceiling and “The Last Judgement“. Have a look at the links as sadly we couldn’t take photos (unlike a lot of tourists there we didn’t break the rules to take photos…and I managed to refrain from too many judgemental looks!)
After we had looked through the museums, we went over to see St Peter’s basilica. (On the next day we went to Pompeii, but that deserves its own post)!
On our last day in Rome we went to see the Pantheon. This used to be an ancient temple to all the gods, but has now been made into a church. The top is open and the whole thing is quite impressive. It’s especially impressive that this whole complex is in the middle of town – Rome really is a place where the ancient and the modern are side by side.
We then went out into what felt like the countryside (but was still central Rome) to see the catacombs of St Callisto. This was really cool – we went underground into what was once an ancient hiding place/burial ground and saw where people had been buried. I hadn’t known before then that people only actually stayed in the catacombs for a few days, not longterm, as the air wasn’t fresh enough for that. No photos allowed, but check out this video:
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Another great post about a great city! The links are excellent — the video clip of the Catacombes is especially cool.
I think we learned another lesson at Vatican City: while January may in general be a quiet month for tourism in Italy, the week leading up to Epiphany on 6 January is a significant exception. Those crowds were overwhelming!!
I bet you were giving lots of grumpy looks! 🙂
Lol, I can just imagine you judging the photo-takers – and quite rightly, too! 🙂