Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Long weekend in Rome Part 1

For Presidents' Day weekend, we decided to hit up Rome. Fionn had already been, but since he is a sweetheart he suggested we go so I could see it. Plus it was Valentine's Day weekend and February is an off season for tourists and it's only a one hour flight aaaaaand do we really need any more reasons to see ROME?? :)

We arrived Friday and got there early enough to do some sightseeing before sundown. First stop, Trevi Fountain!

We didn't throw a coin in though, waaaaaaay too many people!

We stopped into this really cool hat store where an Italian lady talked my ear off (in Italian) about some vintage velvet hats we were both looking at, and Fionn bought himself a vintage hat. The shopkeeper took 5 euros off the price and handed it back to him saying, "So you can take your lady for coffee!"

We wandered into a random, beautiful church before visiting the Pantheon, where I proceeded to have a total history nerd moment that I was in the actual Pantheon.

We popped into a bakery before climbing the Spanish Steps, and ended our day with some pizza and a stroll past a deserted, illuminated Colosseum.

Our first full day we were up bright and early and headed for the Vatican. I gotta say, coming in February was AWESOME, because there was hardly anyone in the line to get inside the Basilica. We probably stood in line for 10 minutes max, and zip! We were in.

The Basilica was beautiful, even more than I expected. Everywhere you look is gold, beauty, opulence. It was interesting to see such earthly splendor and reflect on Acts 7:49, where it says, "Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house can you build for me,' declares the Lord, "or what place is there in which I can rest?" Puts His greatness into perspective, doesn't it?

The whole place really was incredibly beautiful. We managed to glimpse St. Peter's tomb, Michelangelo's Pieta, and lots of other masterpieces.

After some lunch (where I learned I do NOT like Gorgonzola), we set off for the Vatican Museums. We got lucky again since there wasn't even a line to get in-we just zipped through the front door and up to the ticket window!

The Sistene Chapel is inside the Vatican Museum, but you can only buy a ticket for both, not either/or. The Vatican Museum is also very mazelike-you basically have to walk ALLLLLLL the way through the whole collection to see the chapel. There are signs that'll let you shortcut, but after walking through a few amazing rooms we slowed our pace down so we could enjoy everything.

We spent a really long time walking through the museum. There is almost TOO much to look at, and you start to get jaded after a while. Oh, another Raphael or Michaelangelo? A Bernini piece? Meh...what's in this room? Is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Finally we reached the Sistene Chapel, which was beautiful but so crowded. Pictures are forbidden and they mean it! I saw three people dragged out and yelled at by the guards just for trying. Yikes! So if you want to see if, try google ;)

By the time we left the museum, the tourists had come out in force and our once deserted line had started wrapping around the building. So we took a break, got some gelato, and headed for our next stop...

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