Our second day began bright and semi-early with breakfast delivered to our rooms at 8:30. We stayed in a hotel/bed-and-breakfast, so it was standard breakfast of rolls, jellies, and Nutella with a drink we had requested. Mom, Dad, and I all opted for cappuccini 🙂
It was a very pleasant way to start the day, but Blaine and I didn’t have too much time to hang around. We had big plans to hit the Vatican Museum! We opted for the short tour which hits only the big shot items like the tapestry room, the map room, and of course the Sistine Chapel. The ticket office opened at 9 a.m, which was about when Blaine and I hopped in line. It took us almost 2 hours to make it through security and the ticket office, but we finally got into the museum. He and I are both a little crowd-phobic, so it wasn’t 100% enjoyable being pushed along with throngs of people, plus two of the statues Blaine was specifically hoping to see weren’t on display due to renovations. Despite all this, we still really enjoyed ourselves. My favorite part was either the Tapestry Room or the room of the immaculate conception. Blaine’s favorite was the map room.
The maps really were incredible pieces of art and they played a huge role in determining boundaries and authority when they were originally made. The Sistine Chapel was, of course, awe-inspiring. We brought a pair of binoculars with us in the hopes of getting a good view of the detail, but between the jostling crowds and the incessant “keep moving” call from the security, we didn’t end up using them. We didn’t really need the bino’s to understand how incredible the chapel is, and stayed as long as we could before being shuffled along.
As we were leaving the Vatican, I bought myself a pretty St. Francis medallion and a chain since I lost my favorite cross necklace in one of our moves. St. Francis is the patron saint of Italy, the U.S, animals, and ecologists, so I thought he was appropriate for me 🙂
After our march through the Vatican, Blaine and I met the rest of the family at the base of Castel Sant’Angelo to continue our Roman adventure. Blaine and I were pretty wiped after the Vatican Museum and were very happy to hear that next up was lunch near Piazza Navona. We stopped at a place called Zio Ciro, mostly because it had air conditioning, but also because it looked pretty tasty. Hot weather makes me lose my appetite, so I stuck to basics and just ordered bruschetta and a Macedonia fruit salad.
It did the trick, particularly the fruit. When traveling I usually don’t drink as much water and eat as much fruit and veggies as I do at home so this big fruit salad felt especially refreshing. That plus a few glasses of water had me ready to go see Piazza Navona!
When we lived in Rome, the Bernini fountain in the piazza was almost completely under scaffolding because it was being renovated. Now the scaffolding is gone and we get to see it in all its glory. It is seriously impressive and I love how each of the four major rivers are personified into identifiable men.
We also did some shopping nearby and came away with a few presents for Blaine’s family. Continuing our march across Rome, we turned towards the Pantheon, but I’ll leave those details for another post to avoid making this one 3 pages long!