The next day we pootled over to the smallest independent state in the world – Vatican City, home of the Pope and his best chums. Accompanying us were about a million other tourists. It was packed out. Luckily, we’d already taken the initiative and booked ourselves onto a guided tour with Viator which allowed us to skip the ginormous queues. I think if we’d turned up and had to queue, we probably would have been so put off by the size and slowness of the queue that we would have just turned back again! As it was, we met our lovely guide, slipped our audio sets round our necks, and jumped straight into the Vatican museums.Set around a large courtyard, the museums are full of the Pope’s private collections. Once again, my eyes were glued to the ceilings. The Popes through the years have certainly enjoy a decadent fresco or two.From statues, to tapestries, to paintings, the Popes have been prolific collectors over the years.One thing I thought was rather funny, was the little modesty fig leaves that had been carefully placed over any rude bits on the original statues, during a period when it was decided that it was too crude to have fully naked statues on display any more. Next, we went into the papal apartments, where the fondness for beautiful frescoes continued…There wasn’t a massive amount of furniture in the apartments, probably because it would get in the way of the huge numbers of tourists that visit everyday, but the amazing paintings were certainly enough to wow. Each successive Pope had his own idea of how he wanted to decorate his rooms, enlisting some of the great painters, such as Raphael, with some Pope’s deciding to have paintings of themselves painted directly on to the walls. Finally, we made our way to the huge St Peter’s Basilica, one of the largest churches in the world. It was massive. As per the rest of the Vatican City that we’d seen, it was meticulously decorated.Despite looking like a big show piece, the basilica is fully functional as an actual church for everyday people like you and me, as well as just the pope. Anyone is welcome to go there to get married, or baptised. Our tour guide was a local so this was where she had been baptised. On our way out we passed the amazingly dressed Swiss Guards, who were on patrol outside of the basilica, whilst trying not to be too embarrassed about their outfits! After writing a few postcards, we made our way back into the real world.After a morning full of papal splendour, we were in need of some quiet time away from the crowds. This came about perfectly after lunch when we got a bit lost on our way back to where we were staying and found a beautiful park. Very quiet and almost empty, it was a welcome retreat from the hustle and bustle of the crowds back at the Vatican. As we were quite high up, we also got a great view over Rome, and were able to pick out some of the sites we’d looked at yesterday. After a long nap (having a riposo was a part of the Italian culture that we were keen to embrace!), we had a potter around the neighbourhood we were staying in before heading out to dinner. After eating so much that we thought we might burst, we finally headed home, excited about the next day to come, where we would be exploring Ancient Rome…
Lucy: a Somerset girl swapping wellies for heels and now living in Manchester. This is a place to share my life and loves.
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