While Day 1 in Rome was filled with travel and history, Day 2 was more relaxing with a focus on art and faith. On Day 2, we went to the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, and Trastevere. I have several tips for navigating these sites with ease.
After our jam-packed first day in Rome, we needed some serious rest. We ended up sleeping until lunch. Yikes! Not planned but totally necessary and refreshing.We then had lunch at a local pizzeria (there is a pizzeria on every corner but each is unique and delicious). Yuuuummm!
Vatican City and St. Peter’s are some of the main attractions in Rome. Even those who are not religious can appreciate the beauty of the Sistine Chapel and history in the Vatican Museum. Most people are excited and rush to the Vatican in the morning,so… BIG TIP! Go to the Vatican in the afternoon. Rick Steves recommends this, and we were so glad we followed his advice. We still waited in a bit of a line but nothing horrible, and we had plenty of time to see everything.
Some people skip the Vatican Museum because it is quite a long walk with a great deal of art. However, I think it was worth it. I will let the pictures speak for themselves here.
My neck hurt a bit from looking at the beauty of these halls but my eyes were in heaven.
When you feel your head begin to spin from all the gorgeous art and history, you will finally land in the Sistine Chapel. This is an active chapel where confessions are heard so silence is strictly required. Also, no photos are allowed and, honestly, photos could never do it justice anyways. I found it interesting that the famous “Creation of Adam” picture is really only a very small portion of the paintings. (Sistine Chapel pics credit: wikipedia)
Then, another HUGE TIP, most people will exit the Sistine chapel out a main door to the right. However, go through the door at the back of the chapel on the left. This will lead you directly to St. Peter’s through a “secret” passageway. Much quicker and you HAVE to visit St. Peter’s.
St. Peter’s Basilica is viewed as the holiest of Catholic churches. It also holds the tomb of St. Peter, the Church’s first pope, as well as many other popes in the catacombs below. It is breathtaking in its beauty, but what really struck me was the peace and reverence in this church. We were blessed to arrive just in time for Mass in the main church. You have to ask guards specially to attend this, as they do not want it to be a tourist attraction, despite the fact that tourists are walking around the rest of the main church. I am not sure how we managed to attend it actually, because the guards told lots of people before us “no.” Guess God just wanted us there. 🙂
Once we tore ourselves out of St. Peter’s, we landed in St. Peter’s Square…aaannnd another photo session.
Sorry for the picture overload, but there is just nothing like the Vatican. You have to see it to believe it.
After the Vatican, we took a quick bus ride into Trastevere. Trastevere is an unexpected gem of a suburb in Rome. This was my favorite part of our whole Rome trip. If you want to get a real feel for night life in Rome go there. We had an appetizer and a bottle of vino at one restaurant and then went to another restaurant for an amazing gluten free dinner. More on Trastevere later!
Stay tuned for Day 3: Trevi Fountain, Spanish Steps, and more!
To see more of our adventure in Rome: