You can't go to Rome and not go to St Peter's, the Vatican museums and the Sistine Chapel. So this is where we went today. Metro tickets cost about 3.10 euros for a full day's travel and that includes the buses. And it was so easy to travel by tube. There are 2 lines which criss-cross the city, blue or red, and once you have this sussed you are away. I only wish we had sussed it out sooner as it would've saved our feet.
Walking down the Via Ottaviano we were approaching St Peter's square from the north from the metro station stop.
The square itself is very impressive with the Basilca sitting at one end and an obelisk in the centre which was brought to Rome by Caligula in 36AD. With fountains by Bernini and Carlo Maderno. Apprently there is one place you can stand and all you can see is 1 column. I had been told it was located in the road somewhere. I wasn't going to risk standing in the middle of the road in Rome, not even to see that!
After the splendour of the Square we moved into the Basilica itself. What struck me at first was how clean it was. Then how much marble and gold there was and then how many tourists there were in there. The tour guides leading folks about with scarfs or little flags tied to poles. This was rather handy for us if we wanted to know more about the sculptures and statues which surrounded us. Including Bernini's baldacchino and his monument to Alexander VII located in the South transcept.
There is an opportunity to visit the catacombs where a number of Popes are buried but seeing glass sided cases with what appeared to be Popes in them kind of put me off.
Next stop was the Vatican museums and the Sistine Chapel. So after a 15 minute walk down the road we paid our 10 euros and entered a very modern ticket hall, which then led into the vatican museums itself. The artwork and frescoes are amazing. Some of the colours are so vibrant it is hard to believe they were painted so long ago.You walk through various halls and rooms as part of the tour but you can go at your own pace and when seats allow you can sit and have a ponder moment to take it all in. There is the Gallery of Candelabra, the Gallery of tapestries but for me the best was the Gallery of maps. The colours being so bright and the ceiling frescoes, well it made you sit for more than a minute or two admiring its beauty. On down through the Raphael stanze and into the Sistine Chapel. Although people are asked to be quiet and not to take photos it is hard, when there are perhaps 2-300 other people in there with you all marvelling at the same things as you are.The great works of art. The ceiling paintings are stunning as are the wall paintings. The artists include Michelangelo, of course, Botticelli, Perungino and Ghirlandaio and others. From here we then make your way out of the Vatican passing through other corridors and rooms and by the time we left I was feeling rather hot and bothered even in early April. I really could not imagine having to view all these magnificent rooms in the heat of the summer, surrounded by hordes of tourists and not being able to have time to take in the beauty and the atmosphere.
That evening we made our way to see the Fontana di Trevi at night and to have our last taste of Italian ice cream before we left for home. It really is the thing to do on a warm evening sitting with friends, discussing the highs and lows of our few days in Rome while eating Ice cream before wandering back through the streets taking in the last of the sights.
As I was navigating again we got lost trying to find our way back to the metro station. It was worth it. The Palazzo del Quirinale is now the home of the Italian President, hence the Police presence around it. But if you go to the far end of the Piazza you can see a view which stretches across the centre of Rome. St Peter's and the rest of Rome illuminated. It was a great sight to end a holiday.