When in Rome: The Vatican, St Peter’s Basilica & Janiculum Park

I’ve already blogged about our trip to Rome, but a city break to Italy’s Capital wouldn’t be complete without a visit to Vatican City. Our hotel was really close to this area so getting there wasn’t too difficult, and as we’d already pre-booked our tickets, we got to skip the gigantic queue that wrapped around The Vatican walls as early as 9am.

I’m not generally that interested in seeing historical sights if I’m honest, but The Vatican is an exception. The sheer size of it alone is impressive in itself. There’s a route to follow around the building, but even when we went back round a second time – because we missed ‘The Creation of Adam’ painting on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel aka one of the most famous paintings in the world – we found about ten other rooms that we’d missed previously. It’s hot and busy and you’ll get about 20 people cut you up and stop dead in front of you to take photos, but you kind of just get on with it, because it’s The Vatican.

When we left The Vatican we headed to St Peter’s Basilica, which until recently was the largest church ever built and remains one of the holiest sites. The size of the square and the buildings surrounding it cannot even be put into words, though queuing in direct sunlight for half an hour to get in wasn’t my favourite part of the day. Just trust me when I say it’s worth the wait and the sunburn. There’s so much to look at, and even going underground to see the tombs of previous popes, although slightly creepy, is an experience nevertheless. Even jut standing in St Peter’s Square takes your breath away (and I’m not just talking about the heat). I took a million photos on this day so narrowing them down for this post wasn’t the easiest task. If I were you, I’d just go. You need to see this for yourself!

A few tips: take plenty of water and take a change of clothes with you. For the Vatican and Basilica you have to cover up, and in that heat, it’s not a comfortable situation. I’ve never been so glad to see the back of leggings and a t-shirt in my life, so once we’d cooled down we decided to walk around as most of the day we’d either been stood dead still or shuffling our way along ancient corridors. If you head up to Janiculum Park there are some insane views, and it’s not too far to go if you don’t mind climbing a few dozen steps. From here we could see just about everything, including the Colosseum, which I’ll be blogging about very soon!

To finish off the day we went back to St Peter’s Square after inhaling yet another crazy good pizza, watched the sun set behind the church and messed around with lights and cameras much to the amusement of everyone else in the square. I was literally running in and out of shot drawing shapes with my phone torch for about 45 minutes. Picture that for a second. Anyway, for me this was one of the best days in Rome as we got to experience exactly what Rome is all about. Photos on Instagram seriously don’t do it justice!


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