One of the highlights of my trip to Rome in May 2016 was a day trip to the Vatican City. The Vatican is the World’s Smallest Country and the head of the Roman Catholic Church. I am not religious (so the former fact was more interesting to me than the latter) but the history, art and architecture made this a must see whilst spending any period of time weekend in Rome.
Due to the sheer size of the Vatican, we decided to book a tour with Italy with Us who specialise in Vatican tours. As a registered guide they are allowed to enter the museums an hour earlier than normal guests which turned out to be a godsend (no pun intended). The price was €60 per person so perhaps not viable for those on a travelers budget.
The Sistine Chapel
Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel is the obvious highlight of the Vatican’s vast museum and grounds. The advantage of going on a pre-booked tour and entering the museum an hour early is being one of the first to experience the chapel before the hoards arrive.
Tip: If you do decide to make the journey yourself without a guided tour I would very much recommend getting their early and make the Chapel your first port of call to experience the chapel in total silence; the way it is supposed to!.
Note: the Sistine Chapel has a No Photography rule and this is strictly adhered to. Let’s just say I learn’t this the hard way.
St. Peters Basilica
Never one to shy away from a viewpoint. My Dad, Sam and I decided to climb to the top of the St. Peters Basilica. From top to bottom this is 551 stairs (although you can cut out 320 of them by queuing to take the elevator) at a cost of €5 (€7 for the lift). The walk is challenging but broken up by view points and bottle-necks. The views are well worth the effort.
We entered the Vatican at 8am and left just before 1pm. At this time the queues for the Basilica were stretching across the square and