About Me

I am a 45 year husband and dad, currently adjusting to life back in the United States after living in Italy for a little over two years. I love spending time with my family, cycling, model railroading, mosaics and watching TV and movies.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Blue Line and Vatican City

Today we visited Vatican City.

After another good breakfast in the hotel, we walked to the Vatican. Our Rick Steve's guidebook recommended that we visit the Vatican around noon when a lot of the tour groups are gone and many tourists have gone to lunch.

St Peters Basilica

Employees of the Vatican. Apparently all employees must wear uniforms.

So, to fill our morning, we took the Blue route of the City Sightseeing tour bus, catching it near the Vatican.

I mentioned yesterday how touristy the Sightseeing bus is!

Piazza del Popolo

The United States Embassy

Rome, the city of scooters

We can go now...

Capitol Hill

Teatro Mercato

We rode the Sightseeing bus all the way around the loop and back to the Vatican, grabbed some lunch at a cafe and headed to the Vatican Musuem. The Museum is housed in what was at one time the papal palace. It houses art from all over the world, including pieces from Michelangelo and Raphael.

Apollo Belvedere, by the Greek sculptor Leochares


The Round Room in the Vatican Museum, obviously inspired by the Pantheon

This giant Roman basin once decorated Nero's Palace

This mosaic once decorated the bottom of a pool in an ancient Roman bath.

This porphyry marble coffin was made for the Roman emperor Constantine's mother, though not used.

If cats had a king, this would him.

The Map Gallery, with 16th century maps of Italy on the walls.

We made it through the mazelike museum and ended up in the Sistine Chapel. I was a bit confused. I knew it wasn't huge or grand like St Peters, but I expected something on a bigger and more elaborate scale. Once inside though, you see the amazing work of Michelangelo. How did he have time to do all this?

The Sistine Chapel, with Michelangelo's ceiling. The Sistine Chapel is the personal chapel of the pope and the place where new popes are elected.

Upon leaving the chapel, we followed a Rick Steve's shortcut to the St Peters Basilica. Now this is a grand church. It is said that it can hold 60,000 people standing.

Brandon loses interest and reads his book

Inside St Peters Basilica

The Swiss Guard

This one is for postmaster Andy.

After checking out the Vatican bookstore, we walked back into Rome and caught the Metro to Piazza Rupubblica. Katrina wanted to check out the church we saw on our bus tour.

The Church of Santa Maria degli Angeli, housed in the former main hall of the Baths of Diocletion. Inside is another dome inspired by the Pantheon.


From here we caught the Sightseeing bus and rode it to Castel Sant'Angelo along the Tiber River. We walked along the riverfront, checking out a street market. Brandon found an booth where he could get an Italian license plate with his name on it. He also found a hot dog stand.

One of many hot dogs Brandon ate during the week

We ended up several blocks from our hotel, so we walked, stopping along the way to have some Cinese for dinner.

Our hotel for the week

Another great and very tiring day in Rome. Tomorrow we take a side trip out of Rome to visit Ostia Antica, a Roman port town.

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