During my stay in Rome, I spent one of the days exploring Vatican City – just a short train trip from the heart of Rome.
While staying west of the River Tiber in Rome meant that there was a little further to travel into the heart of the city, a couple of the pros of staying there was that we were a stone throw away from Trastevere and just a couple of train stops away from Vatican City.
I really wasn’t sure what to expect from Vatican City. I mean, I had previously seen coverage from the Vatican being broadcasted however, it didn’t really hit me how much of another world it is until I got there.
There are literally walls that outline Vatican City, essentially acting as a border between what we would call Rome and the Vatican. Once entering the walls, and into St. Peter’s Square it was quite overwhelming. The number of people that turned up that day to hear the Pope’s speech was unbelievable (by chance, we visited on the day of his speech) and it was incredible to see how much dedication these followers had – waving flags and cheering on.
Once we got to the Vatican, our mission was to find our meeting point where we were meeting our guide. We were thankful to have booked a personal guide in advance – simply because we were able to skip all the queues (and boy, you should’ve seen them), and got to hear so much about the Vatican from a historical perspective. Similar to our tour guide around the Roman Forum, we were blessed with a very insightful and passionate guide who we learned so much from!
The guide showed us around the Vatican museum, (which is huge by the way) and seeing walls and ceilings lined with some of the oldest and most iconic artworks in the world was just insane. Highlights for me was seeing the works of Michelangelo and Raphael – personally, I prefer Michelangelo’s style but both were some of finest – if not the finest artworks I’ve seen. Hearing about the artists relationship and rivalry was also interesting!
We spent a good couple of hours wandering the Vatican museum and don’t think we even put a dent in it when it comes to what we saw (it really was that big!). Once we exited the museum, we entered the Sistine Chapel. Being a chapel, it is a sacred place and important to be mindful of the noise you’re making. Photographs are also forbidden in the chapel however, this means you’re able to really look up and take it all in. The ceiling was painted by Michelangelo in the early 1500’s and believe me, it’s simply jaw-dropping.
The last stop on our Vatican City day trip was to St. Peter’s Basilica. The Basilica is one of the largest churches in the world, and to get up and close to it when you’re there is really quite special.