Entering the Vatican Museums

We had special tickets to take a guided tour of the Vatican Museums in the evening. When we left St. Peter’s we saw some of the Swiss Guard.

We then walked uber far to find this awesome pizza place, called the Pizzarium. They make pizza with fried potato on it. This is so yum. Then we ate gelato, because I think there was barely a moment when we weren’t eating gelato…

When it finally came time to visit the Vatican, we entered through this epic gate in the wall that surrounds the whole place. You can see some of the Vatican greenery, with St. Peter’s in the back ground.

Because you can’t take pictures in the Sistine Chapel, there are some boards with photos of the paintings on them.

CLIMB ALL THE TALLTHINGS

Views from the top of St. Peter’s.

They were scary stairs, and we were very sweaty by the time we got to the top, but it was worth it! The views are spectacular. You can see St. Peter’s Square, the Vatican Gardens and even distant hills around the city.

Climbing the Dome of St. Peter’s Basilica

I love climbing tall things, and elevators are for the weak…but these stairs got progressively scarier. They started off nice and wide, but once we got up into the dome itself, everything got round and narrow and we were walking up crooked, claustrophobic ways. O.o

But looking down at the floor of the basilica was pretty cool. And there were lot’s of rest stops along the way.

Statues and frescoes inside St. Peter’s Basilica

The first, big white one is a monument to a family named Stuart. It was considered quite salacious because if the naked ladies on it. I find this amusing as I was travelling with a friend named Stuart. ^.^

We also got to go into the tombs to see the graves of all of the past popes. No pictures allowed, but it was really interesting.

Inside St. Peter’s Basilica

Seeing the inside of this church for the first time is indescribable. It literally took my breath away (staring at the ceiling not breathing is not so good :P). Every inch of the place is gorgeously decorated in marble and gilded statues—but it is not over glitzy, like some places can be.

The place is huge. I also got lost like a little kid >.<

The pictures don’t do it justice, but two things of note; the carved bees that are the hallmark of sculptor Bernini, and a list of all the Popes.

St. Peter’s Square and Basilica

Look! It is yet another obelisk. I know y’all love them. Also, St. Peter’s is hugenormous.

East Wind bas relief in the Square. Also monks. Also architecture for the win.

Extra pictures from the Castel Sant’Angelo

Cobblestones in the shape of a heart! <3

Also gorgeous friezes, a bridge, and cannons on the castle walls.

While we were there these guys were carting a piano down the stairs. This confuses and intrigues me. Concerts in the castle perhaps? Hmm…

Inside the Castel Sant’Angelo

We climbed up the tunnel inside the castle. We got to see some of the beautiful renaissance rooms inside and climbed up to the pretty little flower café along the walls. There used to be a library in the castle, as well as an armoury and some suites of rooms for living in.

We then climbed to the roof, which was mega hot and sunny. There was the iconic angel statue on the peak, and an amazing view of Rome.

We got to see the Ponte Sant’Angelo from above as well. A really great experience.

Castel Sant’Angelo and views around the Ponte Sant’Angelo

This is a castle built around the time of Hadrian, then converted to a papal fortress (with an escape route to the Vatican!).

I was really excited about coming here, and it turned out to be really cool! (I’m not gonna lie, I may have been slightly influenced by Angels and Demons. Don’t judge me…)

The bridge is covered in angels, and is quite pretty.

The Pantheon

When in Rome, you have to go see the Pantheon. A temple turned into a church, with a massive dome and occulus. There are amazing columns and stone work inside, with monuments to saints. The doors are bronze, but the rest of the bronze from the patio got stolen for St. Peter’s Basilica.

It is impossible to convey the sheer size of the place, and looking up at the interior of the dome is quite a sight.

Also, look! Another obelisk and fountain! Not like we didn’t have enough of those. :D

(PS. Different from the Parthenon in Greece, which I also saw on this trip. Super confusing….)