Day Three in Rome really took our breath away. If you’ve kept up with the posts you’d know that I haven’t really travelled as much as I would like to. I wanted to see sights in this world that I have only seen through pictures, I wanted to create memories and I wanted tick off destinations that I have only dreamt of. Day three was particularly special to us as it was my birthday so it seemed fit that we had left the best for this day.
The agenda for the day was simple: The Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica. The Vatican is the world’s smallest country which completely baffled us, we couldn’t understand how this could be a country but I guess it just is! Just in case you didn’t know, the Vatican is is a walled enclave within the city of Rome, where all the Popes and the current Pope lived/live. Inside the huge stoned walls, you can find the Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel and St Peter’s Basilica which we visited in that order. I feel like using the words ‘breath taking’ over and over again, because I can’t find the words to explain just how stunning everything was. We were just blown away by the history, the art, the details that were surrounding us. I took so many pictures, but as you can predict, it just doesn’t capture the beauty at all as the naked eye does. We literally were walking around in awe.
So we had an English speaking tour booked for the Vatican Museum, this we booked directly through the official website [this one], our tour guide was really knowledgeable and talked us through the Vatican Museum which is also the official home of the Pope. We went from room to room, soaking in all the information and history around us. We asked questions, posed for pictures and just truly lost ourselves in the moment. It is so special, and a sight I would suggest you go see if you ever get the chance to. A paragraph won’t do it justice, so I’m going to stop typing about it, but I suggest you go check out a few videos if the pictures interest you. By the way, you will be blown away by the amazing artists who contributed to the beauty of the Vatican.
Tip: We got really lucky as we went in January so we were able to move around leisurely without it being overcrowded. Try to go in the colder off peak months to truly enjoy your experience.
After the Vatican Museum, we went to the Sistine Chapel, which is connected to the Vatican Museum. Unfortunately no photos are allowed to be taken in the Sistine Chapel but a quick Google search will bring you up lots of pictures. Last time I picked up a paintbrush and did a bit of art work was way back in the days whilst doing my Art GCSE and I feel like my love for art has been reignited just by spending even 10 seconds in the Sistine Chapel. The beautiful artwork of Michealangelo which I have seen in so many textbooks and images, was right in front of me, and all the pictures I have seen could have never prepared me for how grand and how ‘breathtaking’ the real thing was – yes that word again because I can’t think of what else to substitute for the feeling I got. I just sat there, for the longest time, soaking it in and just staring. My husband was ready to move on, but I felt rooted like I couldn’t move, as there was just so much to see. So so much. I was imagining Michealangelo painting the ceiling and being pretty much blinded in the process with the lead in the paint falling into his eyes. I imagined the process of a pope being selected, in the very hall I was sitting in. It is so fascinating. I’d definitely go back again.
After the Sistine Chapel, we went to see the St. Peter’s Basilica which is a renaissance chapel inside the Vatican City. Again, the structure of the chapel was grand, if you are a fan of architecture you are going to be blown away by the very prominent renaissance architecture here. We walked around just marveling at the high ceiling, the pillars and just the million other details that made up the Basilica. I had a goal in mind, climb to the dome of the chapel and experience the view below. I was determined to tick this off my bucket list, even it almost killed me in the process. Not everyone knows this, but it is actually possible to climb to the dome of St. Peter’s, even I wouldn’t have known should I not have researched before hand. There are a lot of stairs to climb, we skipped about 400 of these by paying to use the elevator but we were left to take the remaining 550ish. These are very very narrow, very tiny winding stairs that look like a death trap. It is absolutely exhausting, so claustrophobic and quite scary climbing to the top. (I’ll try upload a vlog about it soon). Eventually after a few breaks, a lot of complaints, we made it to the top. The cold air greeting us was a welcome sensation, and the view of St. Peter’s square was just worth it. Again, pictures don’t capture the beauty, you have to see it to believe it.
After that rather exhausting excursion, we relaxed in St. Peter’s square and watched the sun go down on the square. Then, I had a craving for gelato so off we went to satisfy that craving. We wound down my birthday evening by just relaxing before dinner, which we had at a restaurant close to our hotel. We dined on spicy prawn spaghetti and virgin mojitos.
My 26th birthday turned out to be the most eventful birthday I think I ever had. I feel like it was a once in a lifetime kind of birthday, how often will I be able to spend my special day at the Vatican and all the other special places we visited. It was my first birthday as a married woman, so it was rather special sharing the day solely with my husband. Phones were off, social media silent, just the two of us. It was just beautiful, and I fell asleep that night as the happiest girl in all the lands.
P.S You can read my other Rome posts here:
Our First Night in Rome
Day Two in Rome