I find it crazy to think that an entire country can lie within one city. It’s a little bit mind-blowing really. The Vatican City is one such country and is contained within the city of Rome. It is home to the Pope, St Peter’s Basilica and Michelangelo’s famous Sistine Chapel within the Vatican Museums.
Our day began bright and early as we made our way to the Vatican Museums by metro. Walking past the seemingly endless queue to the museum we couldn’t have been more relieved that we’d booked our tickets online. We breezed through security and were soon admiring the various Italian artworks. The main attraction within the museum is of course the Sistine Chapel: the incredible masterpiece ceiling that Michelangelo took four years to paint in the fresco style. It was absolutely beautiful but the experience was made less enjoyable by the crowds of people and the Italian guards continually hushing everyone. Next we walked on to St Peter’s Square which houses the grand St Peter’s Basilica. I found this square absolutely beautiful with all of the grand marble buildings and open space. We walked into St Peter’s Basilica and it literally took my breath away. Like I literally gasped for air! It was just so big and so wow. The ceilings were impossibly high, every surface covered in ornate gold or paintings. It had a very ‘holy’ feel about it (I suppose that was what they were going for, being the church of the Pope and all that).
Next we tried to find an area I’d read about called Trastevere. Apparently it is a great area to eat and so we carried our hungry stomachs there, looking for lunch. We walked and walked and walked some more and couldn’t find this ‘amazing’ neighborhood. All we saw were business men and women on their lunch breaks in not-so-nice cafes. Definitely not what we were looking for. Our feet were blistered, it was hot and we were tired. We decided to just opt for some takeaway pizza and save our energy for a really lovely evening.
And what a lovely evening it was! Definitely my favourite night in Rome. We made our way to the Pantheon area and looked for an atmospheric spot to enjoy some delicious Italian cuisine. We had our hearts set on Calzone (a folded pizza) and finally settled on a restaurant just across from where we’d eaten lunch the day before. It was incredible. Delicious pizza dough encapsulating endless mozzarella and mushrooms. YUM!
We then found a seat on the fountain next to the Pantheon and took a moment to watch the world go by as the light was fading and everything began to glow a golden orange colour. There was a mime who would imitate people who passed by or perform funny little anecdotes. He was really, really good and left me in genuine hysterics.
We then grabbed an ice cream and headed on over to the Trevi Fountain to enjoy that by night.
The water was almost luminous and filled with glittering coins catching the light. Magnificent!
We then walked over to get our first glimpse of the Colosseum. Our plan for the following day was the Colosseum and Roman Forum but I really just wanted to see the enormous building at night. Our legs were killing us and we really were exhausted but when I saw this, I knew it was totally worth it. It really was a beautiful site to see all the arches lit up against the dark night. It turned out to be a really lovely precursor to the next day’s adventures.