We left St. Peter’s about 12:00 and decided to find a place to eat lunch and sit for a while. We tried to walk a few blocks away from the Vatican area and found a cute Mom and Pop place. They didn’t speak a lot of English but were so sweet and wanted to make sure that we had a nice meal. As we walked in, the wife got onto the husband about turning on the air conditioner but apparently he didn’t know exactly how to do it….the ensuing conversation was cute to watch!!!!
We shared two pizzas and a bottle of water…..it was wonderful!!!! The walls were covered with pictures of people and various objects, including several Christmas wreaths and trees. It was so quaint….
As we were walking back to the Vatican, we passed this store where you could buy your Papal garments…..
We had read in Rick Steve’s book that the best time to go to the Vatican was at 2:00 because there weren’t many people in line. And, guess what…..he was exactly right. We walked straight in to the Vatican without having to stand in any lines!!
The Vatican Museum is a complete overload of things to look at…especially early century art and statues. We also had to remind ourselves that this is a museum and filled with secular things and was not associated with religion in any form. The ceilings were covered with frescos as well and I felt that they were a waste as you didn’t really notice them. If they had been hanging on the walls then you could have looked at them and truly enjoyed them, but they seemed to get lost with all of the other glitz.
Even with the overload, there were several pieces that I truly enjoyed……
We made our way into the Raphael room where I got to see the “School of Athens” fresco. This is the one that I had seen the cartoon pattern for while in Milan. Unfortunately (of fortunately), the floors of this room were covered in wonderful tile work so I spent much of my time taking photos of the floor….
We FINALLY made it into the Sistine Chapel which was full of people and lots of guards intoning “No Photos” and “Quiet Please”. The ceiling is wonderful, but once again, we were so overwhelmed by art at this point that it seemed almost insignificant. I would love to spend a night there with 20 of my best friends and be able to enjoy all of the art at my leisure.
We left the Sistine, trying to get out of the Vatican as quickly as possible and followed the exit (Uscita) signs, but finally decided that they were just messing with us because it took forever to actually get out to fresh air. We would walk thru several halls and then dump into a bookstore, then thru a few more halls, and then another souvenir shop, a few more halls (filled with closed cupboards) and then into the Vatican post office, then a few more halls, and then down a LONG spiral staircase
We drug ourselves back to the apartment, fixed a quick dinner and then crashed for the evening. We were so tired that we couldn’t even be bothered to go out for Gelato!!!!