Sunday, 16 August 2015

Italy, Rome {Day 3}

Waking up to another day in Rome, the plan was to visit the Vatican. We arrived there to see St. Peter's square surrounded by a long queue. There were plenty of people offering tours and 'skip the line' offers and generally adding to the confusion. I stood in the line while Malcolm went to find out what it was actually for. He returned to tell me we were waiting to enter St Peter's Basilica, which suited our plan just fine, since it was only 9:30 and our reservation for the Vatican Museums was at 11:30. An hour later, we passed through security and entered St. Peter's. It was huge, and beautiful... paintings and statues adorning it. I only wish that my photos could do it an ounce of justice. 

We stopped by the Vatican post office to buy a stamp and send a post-card, which went very quickly (now we'll see how long it takes to arrive in South Africa!), and then refilled our water to take on the Vatican Museum.

Fortunately, this time the 'skip the queue' ticket we'd booked online was quite effective and we walked straight in. The museum was so extensive and had display upon display of sculptures, tapestries, painted ceilings, mosaic-ed floors and intricate details. 

Near the end of the walk through the museum, which had taken us about an hours and a half, we reached to Sistine Chapel. Perhaps it was the crowd of people, or the security personal constantly calling for silence or asking people to stop photographing... but it wasn't as I had expected. I tried my best to focus on and enjoy the artwork - the paintings were remarkable and it was interesting to see the Bible illustrated so beautifully. The detail that Michelangelo included was fascinating and noticing individual expressions or unique objects made one realise what a painstaking task the ceiling was and the talent he had.   

That said, when we left we were very ready to get out into the fresh air and be released from the crowds! 

A break to cook some lunch and put our feet up was necessary, and we were grateful for the location of the apartment! Then, it was back into the city to find Navona square, filled with artists and musicians, and then the Spanish steps. The steps were crowded and we stood for a long time watching men try to hand out roses for free and then get guys to pay for them - their strategy is as cunning as it is irritating.

After descending the Spanish steps, we spotted an obelisk at the end of the road, which Malcolm wanted to see. It was not what we thought it was, but it did lead us to Piazza del Popolo which lead us further to a terrace with a breath-taking view over the city. Another sunset over Rome, followed by a walk through the gardens.

Along our wanderings we'd seen a restaurant that looked good, and we managed to retrace our steps to find it again. In a rather quiet alley-way we enjoyed some Roman Pizza and listened to the thunder rolling. It was a sweet way to end our last day in Rome!

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