After a crazy hectic day sight-seeing around Rome we reserved a whole day for the Vatican. Using the bus tickets we never used the day before we hopped on the bus for a 45 minute journey right to the door of the Vatican.
The first thing you see coming into the Vatican is the wall which surrounds the entire Vatican, to me it seems almost wrong as all around the Vatican is a very poor area then over the wall is a crazy amount of wealth!
However one thing I did notice was that there were a lot less beggars than there were the first time I came almost 6 years ago. We headed for St Peter’s Square first where the line was already quite long. It took us about 20 minutes to clear security and gain entry into the basilica. We decided to go against the crowd, heading straight for the dome which had no queue. You could choose to take the stairs or lift. Feeling fit we decided to take the 600 steps up to the top. Entry fee is 5€ for the stairs or 7€ for the lift which will only take you to the first level, you still have another 200 steps ahead.
Once at the first floor you enter into the top of the basilica which gives you an amazing view of the roof (one of those things you need to see to believe) and gives you a long look down which can be quite daunting for someone with a fear of heights!
If you are claustrophobic or afraid of heights then the next bit is maybe not for you. The stairs continue up (if you have a lift pass this is as far as you get… It is stairs from here on in!) The closer to the top you get the narrower the stairway gets and it starts to tilt to one side. For the likes of people like Andy who is over 6ft this can be very small, not to mention it gets hot… Very hot! We were both sweating by the time we reached the top along with everyone else!
The view from the top is worth it however as you get a 360 degree view of entire Vatican and a view right onto the square. By this time it was around 11.30 and you could see the queue to get in stretch right across the square!
We made our way down back to the first level and took a rest and time out for a snack. If you are planning on doing this I suggest you do what we did and bring water and snacks with you as prices are high!
We walked back down all the stairs which leads you right into the basilica (another reason to do the dome first!) and the queue now to get to the dome was now massive and about an hour wait!
I have no problem admitting that I am not even slightly religious however it is hard not to be impressed with the basilica…I was in awe last time and in awe this time. Between the paintings, the statues, the roof there is so much to take in and see. We spent ages looking around the basilica before heading down into the tombs which is quite eerie!
After spending a good few hours we walked around to the museum which is also the entry of the Sistine Chapel. I had been before and was not fussed about going in and neither was Andy. We were exhausted and still had a few places we wanted to see so decided to give it a miss. If you do want to go in it is 16€ and gives you access to the museum and the Sistine Chapel. If you have never been then I would recommend it however we were a bit churched out!
We got back on the bus and headed back for the Coliseum stop where we got off in search for the La Bocca della Verità…. Or mouth of truth. It’s most famous part being the mouth which doubles as a lie detector. It was believed from the Middle Ages that if you told a lie while your hand was in its mouth, it would be bitten off. Andy and I left with our hands intact you will be glad to know!!!
We got our pictures taken then headed off for the Arco di Tito, we walked around the outside (mainly because we couldn’t find the entrance!) which is full of old ancient buildings and ruins.
And with that we headed back to the hotel to get cleaned up and head out for dinner and an early night ready for our morning train to Naples.