Day 2 in Rome was dedicated to visiting all the usual touristy sights, and let me tell you, Rome houses some pretty amazing attractions. My pictures don't even begin to do these sights justice.
Let's start off where we spent the first half of our day, in Vatican City...
Did you know that Vatican City is it's own city state? Yep, it's plunked right in the middle of Rome, but is it's own country with a population of less than 900 people. It's ruled by the Pope & is the smallest internationally recognized independent state. It lies to the left of us in the below photo, behind that wall.
|Here's us -- all geared up & ready for our tours|
Within the city are these historical sites that we visited: Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museums, & St. Peter's Basilica.
No photography or videography is allowed inside of the chapel, so I can't share with you what I saw, but pictures & videos wouldn't compare anyway. Upon entering the chapel, I immediately got goosebumps; others even got tears in their eyes. The Sistine Chapel is unlike anything I've ever experienced before, mostly thanks to the amazing talents of Michelangelo. The painted ceilings at the Sistine Chapel attract nearly 5 million tourists every year; they stand in silence & awe, as they admire the detailed artwork & workmanship. It really is incredible! Just knowing that you are standing in the very room where Michelangelo once stood (in the 1500's!!) and where the Popes are elected... it's a feeling I can't describe.
Filled with artifacts, sculptures, mosaics, paintings, & tapestries that are so beautiful & detailed, you can't believe the talent. Here's a sampling of what you'll find throughout the museums:
Do you recognize these guys... from your art history days in college? ;)
The ceilings are so amazing, you'll be looking up the whole time...
Tapestries with so much fine detail, you'd think they were paintings...
St. Peter's Basilica & St. Peter's Square.
A massive church of beauty (one of the two largest churches in the world), filled with sculptures & mosaics, and is the burial site of St. Peter himself -- is completely breath-taking! It's also considered one of the holiest Catholic tributes.
Click here for a neat virtual tour -- it will put everything in perspective.
Looking out, onto St. Peter's Square...
The famed bronze gilded Holy Door -- the northern most door in the Basilica, that according to tradition, is only opened for great celebrations, such as the Jubilee years (aka, it's kind of a big deal... they are currently opened as Pope Francis has declared this year as the Holy Year of Mercy).
What an amazing experience!
Phew! That was a long post -- I could have shared hundreds of more photos, but these are just the highlights.
I hope you enjoyed that slice of Vatican City I was able to share -- if you have any questions, please leave them in the comment section below & I will try my best to answer them!
*Visit Vatican City with a group tour (that makes a reservation) or pre-purchase your ticket online, otherwise you will waste an entire day of your trip waiting in line, just to get in. I'm not kidding.
*Visit the Vatican gift store & purchase a (real) rosary made with flower petals, which can be blessed by a priest in St. Peter's Basilica. It will be a wonderful keepsake & makes an excellent gift!
*Plan to wear garments that cover your shoulders & knees while in Vatican City.