See the Holy See

Location: Vatican City

We woke up early this morning to get breakfast and take a taxi downtown to the Vatican. The Holy See is the smallest country in the world and the second country we have visited on this trip. We chose an early morning tour to try to beat the crowds. Unfortunately, most of the other tourists in the city had the same idea.

Our tour guide, Sara has a PhD in Archeology and was very knowledgable about the city and its history. She took us around the Vatican Museum pointing out the artwork and explaining some of symbolism, back story and history. We learned a lot about Michelangelo and Raphael prior to entering the museum and Cathedrals so that we could appreciate the art more. We did not get a lot of background on Leonardo or Donatello, much to this disappointment of our inner 80s child.

The Map Room
The Map Room

The museum itself was very crowded and rarely air-conditioned. But with the help of the radio headsets and some occasional channel changing (interference) we were able to get the most out of the tour. The last three stops were Raphael’s rooms, the Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica.

One of Raphael's paintings
One of Raphael’s paintings

The Sistine Chapel was a magnificent work of art and certainly worth the trip. The guards kept themselves busy reminding tourists to be quiet (lots of shushing), ushering people through the room, and making people who took photos delete them off their phones and cameras. We discovered later that Rachel’s camera *accidentally* took few pictures while in the cathedral.

Sistine Chapel
Sistine Chapel

The inside of St Peter’s Basilica is huge and covered in precious materials and art. It is so large that it could fit Notre Dame and the Statue of Liberty inside with room to spare. Admittedly, most of the symbolism was lost to us, but Sara was certainly able to educate the group.

The Holy Door - only opened every 25 years for Jubilee.
The Holy Door – only opened every 25 years for Jubilee.
Entrance to St Peter's Basilica
Entrance to St Peter’s Basilica
Inside St. Peter's Basilica
Inside St. Peter’s Basilica
The dome of St. Peter's Basilica
The dome of St. Peter’s Basilica
The Vatican
The Vatican

We returned to the hotel after a long day of walking and exploring the museums. In the late afternoon we went to the pool to soothe our muscles.

Tomorrow we visit Florence.

Today’s Weather: Partly Sunny 84/64F

Total Countries Visited Today: 2

Total steps taken (fitbit): 10,058



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