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Seeing the Sistine

And St. Peters


View Bermuda & 2008 Med Cruise on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

I had a car and driver hired for both Rome and Naples because my oldest daughter told me that I could not see Rome unless I could walk. I can't walk for any distance so I viewed the coming visit to Rome with some anxiety. All of the ship tours involved considerable walking. The alternative would have been either to take the train to Rome and walk (which would be hard for me) take a taxi (expensive), or to book an individual car from the cruise ship which would have been $750.00 for just a HALF day. On a tip from a fellow VTer, we hired Sandro Pagnotta of RomaLimo.

We had a wonderful tour of Rome with Sandro Pagnotta, VP. & C.O.O of RomaLimo. We had the car for the whole day - the two of us, and he took us to see the sights we were interested in (Sistine Chapel (where he obtained a guide for us), Trevi Fountain and the Coliseum) and many sights that we would not have thought of asking to see like Circus Maximus, Spanish Steps, the Knights of Malta keyhole, the city gate and the Basilica of St. Paul Fuori le Mura. The Mercedes that we used could go down the narrow streets and easily get around where a normal sightseeing bus could not go. Sandro spoke excellent English and was charming and helpful. The day cost us $675 (plus tip), and paying in advance I could pay in dollars instead of Euros.

I ordered breakfast from room service for 7 am, but either they didn't come, or didn't knock loud enough to wake me up, because I didn't wake up until 7:50. We were supposed to meet Sandro at 8, and by 8:15 we were driving out of the port gate toward the Vatican.
leaving port 8:15

leaving port 8:15

The Port for Rome

The Port for Rome

100_4616.jpgRoad to Rome

Road to Rome

Cyclists between lanes

Cyclists between lanes

Bus stop

Bus stop

Vatican wall

Vatican wall


Vatican walls from the car

Vatican walls from the car

The country boarder between Rome and the Vatican

The country boarder between Rome and the Vatican

Driving around the wall of the Vatican

Driving around the wall of the Vatican

We got to the Vatican about 9:30.
inside the Vatican 9:44 where people gather to buy tickets and go to the musuem

inside the Vatican 9:44 where people gather to buy tickets and go to the musuem

Sign

Sign


going in the exit

going in the exit

large_y100_4633.jpg
My grandson had said he wanted to see the Sistine Chapel so the driver Sandro had hired a Vatican guide for us. I think the guide cost 100€
Vatican guide

Vatican guide


And you can't go back and look at it later after you go to the Sistine Chapel. I knew that we couldn't go back later, so I took photos along the way, and our guide took us the quickest way through the museums explaining what we were looking at.
Looking at the dome from the museum

Looking at the dome from the museum

dome

dome

Vatican gardens

Vatican gardens

small dome

small dome

Marble tomb with guard on the scaffolding behind

Marble tomb with guard on the scaffolding behind

architectural detail

architectural detail

Guard at one of the doors in the museum

Guard at one of the doors in the museum

Walking through the museum

Walking through the museum

courtyard

courtyard

courtyard with big reflective ball

courtyard with big reflective ball

Passing Through the Museums

Passing Through the Museums


fountain in the courtyard

fountain in the courtyard

Crowds in the museum

Crowds in the museum

line of marble heads

line of marble heads


View from the balcony

View from the balcony


If you look out the windows while you walk through the museums, you can see some interesting views of this smallest country. If you have time (we didn't) you may want to look at the Gardens which are decorated with fountains and sculptures. They cover approximately 57 acres which is most of the Vatican Hill. Stone walls bound the area in the North, South and West. The gardens date back to medieval times when Pope Nicholas III (1277–1280) moved his residence back to the Vatican from the Lateran Palace and enclosed this area with walls. A tour of the Gardens allows the visitor to be part of a group tour conducted by an official Vatican Guide. (duration of the tour is approximately 2 hours)

Outside in the forecourt

Outside in the forecourt

Marble tub

Marble tub

mosaic floor

mosaic floor


Green marble lobster sculpture

Green marble lobster sculpture

bust of a pope with my grandson

bust of a pope with my grandson

Across the hills of Rome

Across the hills of Rome


ceiling of museum

ceiling of museum

Mosaics in the Vatican

Mosaics in the Vatican


Statue of Hercules in the Vatican

Statue of Hercules in the Vatican


tomb

tomb


mosaic

mosaic


tomb

tomb

Fertility goddess

Fertility goddess


Faun statue with guide

Faun statue with guide


Ceiling in the Museum

Ceiling in the Museum


Another view from one window to another

Another view from one window to another

The road around the outside

The road around the outside


Sistine Chapel Dome

Sistine Chapel Dome

corridor

corridor


My sister apparently went on a trip which took them on a private tour of the Sistine Chapel and at a time that they could take photos. But the only photos I could take were of St. Peters, the museums and the grounds. We could not take pictures in the Sistine Chapel. We sat at the end of the room where the Pope would enter the room and looked at the paintings.

We also went through St. Peters. It was interesting, but since we aren't Catholic, it wasn't a religious experience.
door detail - St Peters

door detail - St Peters

dome St Peters

dome St Peters

The Holy Door at St. Peter’s Basilica

The Holy Door at St. Peter’s Basilica


Pieta by Michelangelo

Pieta by Michelangelo


large_3997437-The_Popes_Church_Vatican_City.jpginside of the dome St Peters

inside of the dome St Peters

Peter

Peter

large_3997435-The_Popes_Church_Vatican_City.jpg
large_3997436-The_Popes_Church_Vatican_City.jpg
Sunburst window over St. Peter's alter

Sunburst window over St. Peter's alter


large_3997434-The_Popes_Church_Vatican_City.jpg
writing on the edge of the dome in St. Peters

writing on the edge of the dome in St. Peters

confession booth

confession booth

Mosaic floor

Mosaic floor

Exit

Exit


- inside and out.
large_3997446-Wednesday_Mass.jpg
Our guide took us through the museum first, and then we went through St. Peters. He mentioned that they were setting up the chairs in St. Peter's Square for the Wednesday Mass. He suggested that unless we really wanted to see the Pope, that we should not plan to visit on a Wednesday or Sunday. We were there on Tuesday, April 1st - about two weeks after Easter.

If you do decide to go, remember - Most of the masses are celebrated at St Peters Basilica. However there are some Masses when they expecting a larger number of people and then they will use St Peters Square. St Peter's Square can host up to 80 000 people. Normally for the seated area you will need a ticket but mostly you can attend standing without a ticket.

For most of the Masses with the Pope you will need to have a ticket.

Tickets are always free.

Don't forget that to attend these celebrations you will need to pass through security scanners (like the airport) and long lines are to be expected. Places will only be be guaranteed according your arrival time. The tickets will be asked for at the entrance of the Mass.
Remember:
Tickets DOES NOT necessarily guarantee entrance or a seat.
When the church / Square is full access will be denied even with your ticket
x100_4687

x100_4687


Looking back at St. Peters Square

Looking back at St. Peters Square


detail of the frieze

detail of the frieze


line of statues

line of statues

Worker in safety harness

Worker in safety harness


St. Peters dome

St. Peters dome

The most famous guards at the Vatican are the Swiss Guards. In Renaissance Europe, the Swiss had a problem - they had about 500,000 inhabitants in a small overpopulated poor country. There was no choice but to emigrate and one of the most profitable jobs of the era was that of a mercenary soldier.

So the Swiss Cantons marketed their greatest asset - their soldiers, and these soldiers played an important role in the history of European politics. Pope Sixtus IV in 1497, made provisions for the future recruiting of mercenaries, when he had barracks built for them near the small Church of St. Pellegrino, in Via Pellegrino in Vatican City. On January 22, 1506 a group of the Swiss soldiers entered the Vatican and were blessed by Pope Julius II. As allies of Pope Julius II in 1512 they helped to shape Italy's destiny and were granted by the Pope the title of "Defenders of the Church's freedom".
There are many guards in the Vatican and especially in the museum areas.

Swiss Guards

Swiss Guards

My grandson's friend, who didn't know anything about the Pope because (as his mother explained) they weren't Catholic, DID recognize the Swiss guards in our pictures. He isn't the only one. The great Latin historian, Tacitus, had said: "The Helvetians are a people of warriors, famous for the valour of their soldiers." [The official name of Switzerland is Confoederatio Helvetica which is Latin]

Inside the Vatican walls, the Swiss Guards Corps (Corpo della Guardia Svizzera) are posted to provide security. The guards, who swear an oath of allegiance to the pope wear very colorful archaic uniforms. In 1505, the soldiers wore simple tunics - the present uniforms date back to 1548. The story that they were designed by Michaelangelo is probably false. The Pontifical Swiss Guards is also the smallest and oldest standing army in the world.

We were finished there by about 11:30 and Sandro picked us up for the Rome part of the tour.

Posted by greatgrandmaR 17:58 Archived in Vatican City

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