Vatican City is the smallest country in the world and houses some of Rome’s greatest treasures, along with the Pope. We woke up early to get in line for the Vatican Museums, which span about half the quarter mile wide country. Part of the Vatican Museums is the Apostolic Palace, the official residence of the Pope, and the Sistine Chapel. It was an incredible experience to stand with our faces turned up to take in Michelangelo’s ceiling. There was even a priest there quietly taking confession for the tourists. We weren’t allowed to take photos of the Sistine Chapel, but it wouldn’t have mattered – like the rest of Vatican City, it would be impossible to capture its beauty and opulence. Neither of us are Catholic, but being in the Chapel was a very moving experience for us both.
We wandered through St. Peter’s Square on our way to St. Peter’s Basilica, and of course, I had to snap a photo of the Swiss Guard – look at their
costumes uniforms! Poor chaps, having to stand there all day with tourists like me gawking at them! On the days when the Pope comes out, the entire square fills with people! While we didn’t get to see the Pope, it was a relief to not have to deal with the swarm of people.
St. Peter’s Basilica, like the Sistine Chapel, has attire rules. To enter the holy place, you must cover your shoulders and knees. Luckily, we knew this going in, but there were a number of people in thin strapped tank tops or shorts who had to buy weird netted ponchos to get inside! The inside St. Peter’s Basilica was incredible. We could have spent hours pouring over the detail in the architecture.
After visiting St. Peter’s Basilica, we made sure to grab our daily gelato on our way out!