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Roman Holiday - the beginning

ITALY | Tuesday, 31 January 2017 | Views [322]

With a Swiss Guard

With a Swiss Guard

After scooting through Italy on another fast train we arrived at Alessandra's Prati district apartment early afternoon. Plenty of space for us to spread out for our week long Roman holiday. After popping Alessandra's welcome gift (a lovely bottle of prosecco) into the fridge we grabbed our map and headed out on foot. The Vatican is just a 10 minute walk so we made it our first stop. Moving on then across the River Tiber in the direction of The Pantheon. Quite a hike but comfortably done at a leisurely pace as we admired the ancient architecture at every turn. We've seen some pretty incredible structures on our travels, but I think that Rome's got it hands down for size and quantity! We strolled back from the Pantheon through the Piazza Navona; found ourselves a little pizzeria for an early Italian dinner; and wandered back across the Tiber, passing the Castel Sant Angelo as we made it closer to our apartment.

The first night in a new place is never the most comfortable or the best sleep so I found it hard to get moving too early on our first full day. Once moving we left our building and made our way in the direction of the Vatican to join the queue for the Basilica. Breakfast on the way gave us a little more momentum. A little less than an hour (to get through security) had us exploring the massive space that is the centre Vatican City, St Peters Basilica. We marvelled at the height and beauty of the ceilings, the exquisite detail of the marble statues, and, sadly, were astounded at the rudeness and disrespect of some fellow tourists, especially in such a sacred space. Overall, though, the Basilica is an impressive and beautiful place of worship. Some photos of doors and we made our way (about 1 km) out of St Peters Square, following the ancient city wall, to the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel. Again the only wait was to get through security, and only a few minutes. Then the climb to the top of the building (felt like it even by escalator) to the ticket office. Rather than cover the entire museum (which could take days, I reckon) we decided on the "short itinerary" (well sign posted) and make our way towards the Sistine Chapel first. They're tricksters those Vatican folk...it still took quite a while as we wound our way through the various corridors of art and religious artefacts, the Hall of Candlebras, the Hall of Maps, around a corner, down some stairs, around another corner...and there we were (No pics allowed...sorry)...The Sistine Chapel and Michelangelo's masterpiece before and above us. It's a much simpler space than I imagined somehow, but with walls and ceiling covered with artistic brilliance.

The way out was just as much of an adventure as the way in, but, of course you get to walk through souvenir shops, restaurants etc; up stairs, down stairs...

Going back to our apartment is always a challenge. Figuring out where we are first is the most fun. We took the long way; found a supermarket for a light evening meal and a pasticceria for some sweet pastry treats.

Tomorrow is another Roman day.

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