Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Vatican City || Travel Diary

To read about our time in Rome, please follow this link.

11 June 2014

On our last full day in Rome we took a day trip to the Vatican City. We were pleased that we had purchased our tickets online in advance as we walked past hundreds of people waiting in the hot morning sun outside the walled city. As with when we entered the Colosseum, it took us minutes to get in and through security rather than hours.

It was another stinking hot day and we were ducking for shade wherever we could find it. We chose to start with the Vatican Museum as it was refreshingly cool in there, although it seems that was the thought process for the majority of visitors that day. As it was very crowded (that might be normal though). Chris and I are big geeks and love visiting museums, so we literally walked around the exhibits for hours. Which in hindsight may have been our downfall. As by the time we had reached the Sistine Chapel we had exhausted ourselves and were completely over being surrounded by people. Chris who doesn't like ques and crowds at the best of times was not overly impressed with the masses of people. The Sistine Chapel is beautiful but so are the ceiling in the rest of the museum so we were a bit under-whelmed to be honest. You are strictly not allowed to take photos (hence their absence here) and we were literally shoulder to shoulder with everyone else in a small room, with more visitors vying to get in past security. We did see a few people who tried taking photos but the security monitors swiftly told them off, took their cameras and deleted the photos. Due to it being such a hot day and we had spent the majority of it in the museum we actually missed a lot of the main attractions of the city-state. Such a St. Peter's Basilica and St. Peter's Square amongst others. Firstly, due to us not wanting to melt in the hot hot sun, but also as we were not part of a guided tour (as we can normally do without) and didn't know how to navigate the area and not doing enough research about the attractions before we arrived. Which I now regret. I did enjoy our experience but it wasn't until I was talking with our Busabout frineds that I realised how much we had really missed. Oh well, you live and you learn.

Quick Summary (TL;DR)

Duration of stay: Day trip
Was it enough time?: No. We didn't plan our day well enough to maximize what we saw in our day trip. However, if it had been a cooler day or we had used a map to navigate we could have seen a lot more. We were actually very close to the other attractions, we just didn't know it at the time.
Where we stayed: Camping Village Roma
Time of Year: June
Best memories: Feeling smug walking past all the people lining up to get tickets (which we already had)
Worst memories: Being so close and still missing some of the main attractions
Top tip: Pre-book your entry tickets online before you get to attractions or research the best deals.
Next time: I would limit our time in the museum and see St. Peter's Square and Basilica early in the day instead.
Vatican City in a few words: Unique, crowded
Recommended?:Yes, just plan your trip more than we did.
Overall experience: 6/10
Next destination: Florence, Italy

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