Vatican is a city within the city. You can step foot on a different country without leaving Rome. Vatican has its own flag and its own coat of arms.
I woke up with slightly aching legs from all the walking I did the day before. Good thing the metro was in full operation. I had no plans of walking to the Vatican City.
How to go to Vatican City: I took the metro line A and got off Cipro stop (closer to the Vatican museums) – €1. If you plan to head off to St. Peter’s Basilica first, your stop is Ottaviano – which is closer. I initially planned to ride a bus going there but I was warned by my roommate in Florence about the pickpockets in the buses. After losing my Ipod, I was not gonna take a chance this time.
I read how the queue can be extremely and excruciatingly long so I booked my ticket online (via this website). Vatican museum tickets cost €15 plus a “pre-sales”/online booking fee of €4 = a total of €19. Before booking, note that the tickets are non-refundable. I got the 10:30am slot because I knew that I’d probably sleeping in late from all the walking that I did the previous day.
|Garden at the entrance|
I seriously considered joining a small group tour and even a private tour guide for this one. There are a lot of “hawkers” outside the walls of the museum who sell their services – some offer private tours for €25 for 3 hours (according to their printed signs) – I think most of them are students or art enthusiasts. I believe that it would be beneficial to get a guide but my stingy side prevailed.
Don’t be fooled by the long line outside the walls of the Vatican Museums. Before wasting your time falling in line – know which line it is. Is it for the ticket sales, or is it for the entrance? For around 10 minutes, I lined up where other people there not knowing that it is the line to buy tickets. Good thing I overheard some people talking that they had tickets already so they don’t have to line up. I just followed them.
|Hehehehe. Overtake. If you have a ticket, the lines weren’t really that long.|
The Vatican City may be the smallest independent state in the world, BUT the Vatican Museum is HUGE. Don’t attempt to see everything in one day. Even with a guide, I highly doubt it is possible to absorb all of Vatican’s treasures in just one sitting. Just throw a coin in Trevi fountain so that you’ll go back to Rome – hopefully with more money so that you can afford a private guide.
I said that I wasn’t really an art aficionado, but some paintings warranted a second look.
|Lots of versions of this painting|
Some are avidly studying the paintings.
My apologies to the artist of this painting for not taking note of him. I found the creases of the red cloth very life-like. The details were amazing.
|Light and shade|
I liked that I didn’t have a guide. I was able to choose the things that I wanted to see – and not ushered to the things that I should see just because the guide says so.
|The crowd gathering around a tour guide|
The highlight of the Vatican Museums is the Sistine Chapel. You’ll find numerous signs pointing to that direction and the whole crowd is going there too.
Going to the Sistine Chapel, I skipped some paintings and the sculptures, but it is hard to miss these beautiful ceilings. After Europe, I just have a whole new appreciation for ceilings. My nape was stressed again – courtesy of the Vatican this time.
Be careful when looking up, the crowd is quite huge so you’ll probably bump into someone while walking and taking pictures.
I saw a guy doing a self-portrait shot. An opportunity! I offered to take his pic, and he took mine in return (the usual spiel).
|The purple camera case makes it to Vatican City|
Passed by some interesting sculptures. I'm not exactly sure where they are actually. I just found them on my way to the Sistine Chapel.
|Credits to the artist. My apologies for not remembering you.|
I don't really get this painting. But I like it.
Finally, after more than an hour of walking, I arrived at the Sistine Chapel.
The most beautiful ceiling in the entire world. Too bad I was too scared to take pictures. It got noisy from time to time so the guards had to say “shush” every so and so minutes. Since I was too scared to take photos, here are some shots from the handy Wikipedia. These do not give justice. I'll be braver to take pictures next time.
I felt that there were all these masterpiece paintings closing in on me. When someone tells you how amazing the Sistine Chapel is, they are lying. It is not just "amazing". INCREDIBLE.GLORIOUS. *Insert more words here*
We use the word "gifted" or "talented" so frequent nowadays. Seeing the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, you'll probably have a higher standard of for these words. I spent more than 30 minutes in the room. People were just staring at the ceiling. We all had stressed napes.
One of the standard "Things you must do in Vatican" is to send a postcard from the Vatican City's post Office. I spent €3 for the postcard and €1.60 for the stamp and sent a postcard addressed to my family (including our dogs). Sadly, the postcard did not arrive. San kaya naipit?
The ever popular spiral staircase of the Vatican City.
Not enough time to see everything. Then again, if you try to cram seeing everything in one visit, everything might look the same eventually.
I just have to come back with more money.