We finally visited the capital city last weekend! We had such a great time in Rome, visiting amazing sights, having nice quiet moments, and meeting up with family!
We drove down on Friday morning, which took us about 5 hours. We checked into our hotel and made it over to Vatican City via tram just in time for our reservation at the Vatican Museum.
What a way to start a vacation! So many wonderful works of art, all culminating in the Raphael rooms, followed by the incredible Sistine Chapel. The Sistine Chapel was breathtaking. It was a quiet place despite the number of people crowding inside to get a view of the ceiling. I felt like, even as we were leaving, it took another couple of hours to digest what I had just seen. Caroline stared up at the ceiling the entire time, she was as mesmerized as the rest of us.
Vance loved the museum because they had a family audio tour. For 5 Euro, you get a treasure map and a small audio remote. It was a great way to interest Vance in what was happening and he learned quite a bit as well. The tour was supposed to be for ages 5 and up but I think it was suitable for 4 year olds too. JW and I also listened to it to learn more about the pieces of art. If you do your research, there are so many ways to engage children in travel in Europe!
The next morning, we came back to Vatican City to see St. Peter’s Basilica. The line to get in stretched around the entire circumference of the piazza. We knew we couldn’t come here without seeing the interior of the world’s most ornate church, so we hunkered down to edure a two hour wait.
As luck would have it, however, an older gentleman approached us, and, upon finding out we were from America traveling alone, motioned for us to follow him. JW and I were skeptical but we followed. Then, he flashed us his badge, showing us that he worked inside the Vatican. He led us all the way around the piazza and right through security, up to the church! We couldn’t believe it! What a stroke of good karma! At first I thought it was because we were a family with small children, but there were other families stuck in line that definitely did not get this kind of treatment. Maybe we had some guardian angels looking over us? 😉
The church was amazing. Grandeur is an understatement. It was something that could not be captured on film. It was floor to ceiling marble, art, and gold. The church is so big that it has tiles on the floor indicating where other famous churches would FIT INSIDE. We also got to go down into the Grottos where all of the Popes are buried. Obviously, we couldn’t take pictures in the Sistine Chapel or the Grottos out of reverence, which is why those are missing from our collection. Before leaving, I made sure to sprinkle some holy water on Vance’s head…just in case it has any powers against tantrums…
The Vatican was ornate, amazing, and strange. There were roasted chestnuts everywhere too, which Caroline and I loved! Yum!
So that is the first leg of our journey. Check back and I will post some updates about the rest of the weekend!