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Vatican Last Stop! (Day 13)


Our last full day arrived and Johnny managed to rearrange our reservation for 1 PM! We visited the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel (Michelangeloโ€™s masterpiece) and St. Peter’s Basilica! Ironically, as we were told, he hated painting. Unfortunately we did not get to see Pope Francis as I had hoped at the beginning of our trip. It was so funny that Johnny gave us “decoy” blue Vatican specific headsets as they were required for all tour groups. We had the red one from Gate 1 and the Vatican brand both dangling from our necks. They gave us tickets to browse the amazing art collections acquired throughout the centuries. There’s a giant open court area where we spent about half an hour. I entertained myself by failing at creating optical illusions with the golden globe.

We then stepped into the the Gallery of Tapestries and the Geographical Maps. It was amazing seeing the amazing works of art frescoes, sculptures, maps documenting the history of the church! One work that stood out in particular was a 3D optical illusion. The impeccable shading made the painting look 3-dimensional, but the telltale sign was the large crack that needed restoration down the middle. We walked slowly through all of the exhibits. The tour guide advised us that we could either use the restroom or spend more time viewing the piรจce de rรฉsistance, Sistine Chapel! This room is possibly the most famous work of art in the Vatican. It’s difficult to describe the immense scale of the great frescoes by Michelangelo. He put so much detail into each of the figures and there were so many characters to keep track of. I could have spent hours admiring. I was somewhat surprised that they had strict rules against taking photos and talking. The tour guide let us enjoy the views on our own. I abided by the rules, but I noticed several sneaky visitors taking photos. There were even tour guides who risked losing their license by conducting tours through the headset in the back! They have some seating protected by plastic frames along the walls.

Afterwards we continued to St. Peterโ€™s Square, passing Berniniโ€™s famous colonnade to view St. Peterโ€™s Basilica, built on the burial site of Saint Peter, with the famous Michelangeloโ€™s Pieta. More amazing artwork also awaited from the amazing tiled floors to the grand pulpit. I managed to get a perfect photo of the grand pulpit with beams of light beautifully shining down on it. The tombs of previous popes were fascinating to view. I don’t remember the names of the specific popes. The size of the Basilica was even more staggering when realizing the detail given to every inch of it. If you plan far in advance you can book a seat to see the Pope conducting Mass!

We spentย our final moments browsing the Vatican gift shop where we could buy any religious gifts and other souvenirs before busing back to the the shambolic Romanico Palace. Dana purchased some Rosary beads for his great aunt and commemorative stamps for his collection (even though he hasn’t added anything to it in years)! I honestly didn’t even know he had one after 5 years… There was also an exclusive room with beautiful mosaic artwork displayed for purchase that we saw one of our travel companions inside. I tried pulling the door but it was locked from the outside for visitors! You need to summon a gift shop art curator employee to let you in! We didn’t realize the exorbitant costs though until we entered so we just admired the handiwork. It’s amazing that each mosaic requires these extremely small bits that are dyed so it takes days just for a small jewelry box! Needless to say we did not purchase anything else.

The Vatican was a great way to wrap up our 14 Day Trip through Italy! Even though I don’t have a personal connections to religion, I can truly appreciate the significance of visiting such an amazing location. I only wish we had more time to spend ourselves to browse the main Vatican museum. We returned back to the hotel’s restaurant for cocktails and farewells (AKA tipping the Tour Manager handsomely, more on that for the overall impression of Gate 1). The hotel staff laid out the usual bar snacks and cramped seating in a square shape along with some flat breads. Unfortunately I only had a chance to exchange contact information with a few in our group so if you stumbled upon my posts don’t hesitate to reach out!

Rating: 3.5/5ย โ˜…โ˜…โ˜…1/2

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Categories: Review, Travel, YelpTags: , ,

31 comments

  1. I love the Vatican. It truly is a wonderful country that just screams history. I love the Sistine Chapel so much and the Creation on the ceiling. Hope to see you at Fly away Friday tomorrow ๐Ÿ™‚

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  2. I have yet to visit the Vatican and you’re really inspiring me to put it on the list! The photos look absolutely amazing! Thanks for joining Fly Away Friday, hope to see you again this week! xo

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I absolutely loved Rome when I visited there, would love to go back. Great post. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  4. Another gorgeous post Hannah!

    I went to the Vatican yeeears ago, but (this will show my age) I only had a normal (non digital) camera. I had to be really sparing with my photos…and then none of them were that good. Oops. It is really nice to see far better piccies of the place I remember!

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    • Thanks so much Josy! Aw I remember those days too haha my dad actually painstakingly scanned in all of our old photos that were from those old film rolls. It’s definitely much easier when we can take as many photos as we want and discard the bad ones. I probably delete about 25% of the photos I take (duplicates, bad angle, blurry etc…) but each trip I probably take at least 1,000 haha.

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      • I’m with you! I take a few hundred each day (more at the start of a trip when I’m excited!)

        I normally make photo books after holidays to show off the best ones. That way I get to relive the holiday while creating the books. ๐Ÿ˜€

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        • Oh what service do you use!? I have some codes for shutter fly but I’ve heard they aren’t very good quality? Haha so true about there being so many more photos in the beginning of the trip when everything is new and exciting. I had so many more of Venice haha than I did of the Vatican.

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          • I need to work out who to use. Up to now I have always used Apple, but now I changed computers I’m not sure what alternative to go with…

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  5. I’ve yet to make it to Rome yet, but the Vatican is the only thing that I want to see- I may spend a full day or two there soaking it all in. It’s incredible when you think about how long these have been maintained and kept, and just how many people have experienced this beauty. I always stop to see at least one cathedral in every city I stop by (if possible), and this is the number one cathedral!! Thank you or sharing with us ๐Ÿ™‚

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  6. This looks like an awesome trip. Thanks for sharing it with all of us!

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  7. So weird with the headset, but sometimes places have weird rules ๐Ÿคท๐Ÿปโ€โ™€๏ธ But that Sistine chapel must’ve been AMAZING!

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  8. I found the Vatican very interesting & fantastic artwork that must be seen but I was not spiritually blown away (The Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris on New Yearโ€™s Eve, with the melodic sounds of the choir in the background moved me a lot more!) I was amused at the number of souvenir stalls selling every item known to man with a papal image on it! Must do place to visit when in Rome though! ๐Ÿ˜Š

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    • Thanks Linda! Haha yeah even with the Vatican they found a way to sell commercialized products everywhere. I really enjoyed visiting the cathedrals when we were in Canada too, which I thought felt more spiritual. I’m sure it’s similar too for Notre Dame would love to visit that as well! ๐Ÿ™‚

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  9. I found the Vatican fascinating but I didn’t feel any ‘holiness’ there. In fact I found the smaller Roman churches more spiritual. What s place to visit though x

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  10. You took some beautiful pictures! We didn’t make it to the Vatican when we were in Rome; we were only there for three days, and we knew we wouldn’t have enough time to commit to it.

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  11. The Vatican is intense, isn’t it!! I spend 6 hours in the Vatican Museums and still didn’t see everything!!
    #FlyAwayFriday

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