After breakfast this morning, it was off to the Vatican Museum. Our museum passes include bus and metro service. We headed for the nearby metro stop. The trip was quick and efficient if a little crowded. We had scheduled our Vatican Museum entry for nine, when they opened. The prepaid entry pass again saved a bunch of time again. For me, there were some surprises at the museum. Upon entry, in the courtyard are two large sculptures, a 2,000 year old bronze and a modern abstract piece. I had assumed everything would be old and have either classic or religious themes. We saw sculpture, tapestries and paintings. The museum culminates at the Sistine Chapel. To give you an idea of the size, the ceiling is similar to the area covered by a football field. If your neck could handle it, you could spend hours admiring the work. Of course they are trying to rush you through. Our guidebook offered a little trick to save some time and get directly to St. Peter’s. Ask me about it.
The shear size of St. Peter’s Basilica is awe inspiring. It is more than three times the length of the Washington DC basilica. Along with Michelangelo’s Pieta, it contains the crypt of many popes including John Paul II. It covers the exact spots where St. Peter was said to have died and been buried. We spent some time in St. Peter’s Square before heading to the Pantheon.
After a short walk including the required gelato stop, we arrived at the Pantheon. The Pantheon was a Roman temple dedicated to all the gods. It has been in continuous use for two thousand years, most of the time as a Catholic church.
Next up was to find the Trevi Fountain. Being recently cleaned and restored, it is beautiful. Dolora and I threw our coins in the fountain. We then headed to the Spanish Steps. Not as exciting here. Some steps, a crowd of people and no real views…
We headed back to the hotel for a bit and then went for another walk around the hotel before dinner. We had a final group dinner tonight at Target (Not that Target). Our tour ends tomorrow after breakfast but we are staying an extra day and heading back on Saturday.