Country #35 - Vatican City

The Church

Today I woke up to another great breakfast at Hearth Hotel before heading to stand in line to visit the Vatican Museums. Technically I had already entered Vatican City multiple times (when you walk in front of St. Peter’s Basilica you are technically in Vatican City). The line was so long. Like wrapped around multiple city blocks long. There was no way I was going to spend my entire day in line so I looked online on the off chance that an online booking had opened up. And it was my lucky day! A booking for a few hours later had come available, and I bought it as quickly as I could. So instead of standing in the sweltering heat for four hours, I was able to go back to Hearth Hotel, print the ticket, and then go ahead and visit St. Peter’s Basilica! Moral of the story, though, is to definitely buy your Vatican Museum tickets ahead of time.

There was a line and obviously security, but it was not near as long as to enter the Vatican Museums. St. Peter’s is one of the most beautiful churches in the world in my opinion. It is just so grand that it is hard to beat. My favorite part, though, is definitely Michelangelo's Pieta. It’s one of my favorite sculptures because it is just so lifelike. I could spend hours marveling at St. Peter’s, but I only walked through for about thirty minutes.

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I still had time to eat lunch before entering the Vatican Museums, so I grabbed another quick prosciutto and mozzarella sandwich. After pizza and pasta, this is definitely my third favorite Italian meal! It was a quick meal close to the Vatican which made it really easy to enter right after. I walked right in, went through security, got my signatures saying I was in the country, and then started walking.

I have visited the Vatican Museums before, but they were much busier this time. I highly recommend you avoid visiting Italy in the summer because it is hot and so busy. I could barely move in the museum there were so many people. I’ll never understand the politics behind the Vatican having so much priceless art, but I really enjoyed seeing the huge collection of all types of art. The rooms of the Vatican museums leading up to the Sistine Chapel are all so beautiful, and definitely worth walking through. There is an option to walk straight to the Sistine Chapel, but I would highly advise against it unless you are in a huge hurry because you would miss so much.

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Once you make it to the Sistine Chapel cameras are not allowed, but you should definitely just sit in one of the seats along the wall and take it all in. Because there is a lot of it, and it’s pretty extraordinary. After staring at the ceiling for a while, I then finished making my way through the museum. There is just so much to see, but I guess it makes sense when you remember that you are literally seeing an entire country in one museum. It took me a few hours to see everything in the Vatican Museums, and St. Peter’s took me about an hour. I would say that St. Peter’s is my favorite part of Vatican City along with St. Peter’s square, but the Vatican Museums are great as well. I really enjoyed my few hours in Vatican City, and am looking forward to the rest of my day exploring Rome again!

35 countries down, 162 to go.

Read about my first day in Italy here.

Read about my second day in Italy here.