This is the second post about our Rome vacation. If you missed the first part, check it out here :
Our Rome visit part 1
(grrr, for some reason the update of Word Press does not allow me to include links anymore, I can not figure out why, please bear with me while I figure it out).
I left off on Friday, where we visited one of the highlights of the week : St. Peter’s Basilica.
It opens at 7 a.m. so to avoid the crowds, my daughter and I decided to go early. You can see there are very few people in the street as we approach.
You first need to go through metal detectors. There were about 20 of them and the process was just as efficient as going through a line at Disney. Much more efficient than the airport. You can tell they are used to managing hordes of people !
We decided to start by visiting the Dome. 551 steps. I thought I was in good physical condition but by the time I got to the top my legs were shaking !
You stop half way up so you can see the inside of the dome …
… and we looked down at a mass. They were swearing in the new Swiss Guard and all of their families were there. You can see the Swiss Guard sitting in the front rows on the left (two rows of red/orange people).
We then went outside to take a winding, narrow stairway to the top. If you are claustrophobic, do not do this! The walls lean in and the hall is narrow.
Once you get to the top there are great views of Vatican city and St. Peter’s square.
On the way back down you go through the church. I am used to French churches that are old and not necessarily in good condition. The inside of St. Peter’s was immaculate, all in marble and HUGE. Three Notre Dames could fit inside.
You can not get that close to where mass is going on but there is still a lot to see.
Jean Paul’s II’s tomb from afar :
The Baldaquin :
… in addition to numerous statues, sulpture and paintings.
There are security personnel everywhere, and the closest we could get to a Swiss guard was this :
I think the purpose of him being there was so that people can take pictures but the poor guy. Every 5 seconds someone would take their picture with him. My husband thinks him having to do this is some sort of punishment, because his bed was not properly made for example. It was almost a circus effect, so many people wanted their picture taken with him. We felt really sorry for him but took a picture anyway (#sorrybutnotsorry).
Then on the way out you walk through St. Peter’s square and everything is set up, like you see it on tv. The elevated stage where the Pope sits, giant screen TV, hundreds of chairs.
As with everything in Rome, it is so much better if you get there early and avoid the crowds.
We also took full advantage of the food all week, which included a lot of pizza and gelati :
Ever been to Rome ? Would you have taken a picture with the Swiss Guard ?