On my trip to Rome last summer with some friends we took a day trip to the country within a city, Vatican City. Home to the Pope and the largest cathedral in the world (although it is the smallest country in the world).
Entering in to the main square at the front of St Paul’s Basilica it really is a sight to behold. The magnificent building encircled by a wall of pillars and statues. The main square was filled with seats as the pope does a speech every Wednesday- we went on the Tuesday to avoid loads of tourists.
We had booked booked our tickets online for the vatican and the museums (this is best as there were still ques for the pre booked tickets). However, while in the main square we were persuaded to buy in to a tour, they made a very good deal for us as we were sceptical. I would thoroughly advise a tour, I learnt so much from our tour guide! Plus this tour got us entry to the sistine chapel and St Paul’s Basilica- usually once you have gone round the Vatican museums you have to exit and que again for the Basilica (and it is a lonngggg que).
The entrance for the museums is not in this square- get a map out and check before you go, don’t do what we did and just join the lonnnggg Que. We didn’t spend long in the museum as the tour was going pretty quickly. The Vatican gardens were magnificent (as pretty much everything is in Vatican City as you will see), y’know just a casual garden with St Peter’s Basilica’s Dome as your view.
Walking through many arches leading to many other amazing gardens; one of them holding the largest Iron pine cone in the world. Yes there is such a thing! What you notice most when walking round is the extravagance of the place and the sheer size of everything. It may the worlds smallest country but it holds some pretty impressive buildings.
Going back into the main building our tour guide takes us through endless corridors, but these are no ordinary corridors- why would they be its the Vatican- they are decked out to the nines. The ceilings, the tapestries, paintings and sculptures, each corridor showing off some kind of skill or famous artist that they have employed. You don’t know where to look first.
On our tour we included seeing the sistine chapel- unfortunately you aren’t allowed to take photographs of the chapel due to copyright reasons. Darn it! Honestly I was too busy admiring the paintings. The only problem with the sistine chapel is that you are told to be silent, and it’s not. The guards every so often just shout for everyone to shut up but its very minor nuisance- i ended up giving up and whispering to my friends anyway!
Coming out in to the daylight from the sistine chapel we headed to St Peter’s Basilica. This was something that I had been looking forward to since I knew we were going to Rome. Believe me it wasn’t a disappointment. I was truly in awe of the sheer size of the Basilica and the statues and alter within it.
If I went back I would definitely book to climb up the dome. You can climb to the dome edge near the windows and look down, we were all just too tired at this point.
The vatican is going to take up most of your day. We got a tour at 11ish and didn’t finish till 4pm- this was without most of the queues too. I booked our tickets through the Vatican website, unfortunately I can’t remember the tour company as they literally picked us up within the Vatican but the tour was €10 each (not including vatican museum ticket price- as I said they did us a good deal too.)
Its one of those places you just have to experience!
Have you ever visited Vatican City?