Dec. 10, 2012
Vatican City seems to be loved by everyone and is on many “top sights” & “must sees” lists while in Rome. I can sadly report that we didn’t enjoy the Vatican as much as we had hoped & wanted to. It was not until our visit to the Vatican that Anthony & I realized we are not art buffs.
We woke up early for our usual 7:00am breakfast fare at the hotel and then headed out. Originally, we were going to catch a taxi to take us to Vatican City but after realizing how close everything was we ended up walking and I’m glad we did. We had time to take pictures and enjoy our stroll. With only 2 days left (not including today), we wanted to take in as much as we could.
I was expecting it to rain the entire trip but we lucked out and it only rained about once or twice. The first time was when we went to Piazza Navona and the 2nd time was while we were at the Vatican. Since we were going to be inside for the next 4-6 hours it worked out perfectly! Prior to leaving the hotel, we both packed our umbrellas. As soon as we turned the corner to cross the street toward the Vatican it started sprinkling.
I booked our tickets for the 9:00am slot in advance so we got to skip the long, long, LONG line that wrapped around the corner to get in. Good thing we did because we would have been waiting in line all morning. After we got our bags checked, we went up the winding stairs to get our tickets scanned. Once through they gave us a map and we were free to explore.
The Vatican is ginormous so if you are an art lover you can easily take a few days or even a week to check out all of the exhibits. After checking out painting after painting for 3 hours, we finally got to the Sistine Chapel. We spent a good 30 minutes or so looking at the paintings on the ceiling and understanding the story. For this we used Rick Steves Audio Tour again which was useful as always. After the chapel, we had pizza for lunch in the Vatican Cafeteria. It was surprisingly delicious and authentic.
After lunch we decided we saw a good amount of what the Vatican had to offer so we headed over to St. Peters Basilica. The moment you step into the basilica you are just in awe. The altar was mesmerizingly beautiful! Ant & I snapped a few pictures while there and then we sat down to take a break.
Prior to our trip, we checked out Anthony Bourdain’s Rome episode and he recommended visiting Prati which is located near the Vatican. With a quick internet search as to what Prati had to offer I read that it had good shopping. After visiting the Vatican/Basilica we were on our way to Prati. Searching and searching for a good area to shop we didn’t see much. Still full from lunch we didn’t get to try the restaurants & cafes that Bourdain recommended. Tired from our long day we turned around to go back to the hotel. We stayed in for a couple of hours to relax, watch tv and just lounge around. Seemed like we hadn’t done that in ages! Refreshed & energized again, we set out to do some more shopping near the hotel. This time we checked out designer stores along the Spanish Steps. We love to eat and when we saw sight of roasted chestnuts sold in little stands we had to try it. Glad we did because it was sweet and had a nice grilled flavor to it.
For dinner we tried out Piccolo Buco which is a small family owned restaurant just a block and a half from the Trevi Fountain. The service was so friendly and the food was homestyle & delish. Ant tried the Piccolo Buco Fettuccine which had fresh tomatoes, shrimp & zucchini. I ordered the spaghetti carbonara because I wanted something rich & hearty and I got just that! For dessert, we had gelato next to the Trevi. I can never get enough!
It was back to the hotel after dinner to get some rest. Tomorrow we are headed to Campo dei’Fiori to buy some souvenirs and Trastevere.