In Pope Country

Since the Vatican is so large and we were only five minutes away by foot, we decided to break it up into a two-day extravaganza so we wouldn’t get all Pope-d out at once. On the afternoon that we arrived in Rome—which just happened to be All Saints Day—we decided to walk over and take a sneak peek of the Vatican before exploring Trastevere. Huge mistake! It was slam-jammed with people. St. Peter’s Square in front of the cathedral was almost impassable. We took a few crappy pictures and were out of there.
Cut to day 3 of our Rome trip, and a much more prepared McFarlain crew. We set our alarm and had everything laid out for an 8am departure. It paid off! St. Peter’s Square was pretty much ours. We were able to take some great pictures and then basically waltz right up to the top of the dome. Well maybe waltz is a bad descriptive word, because it was more like a schlepp up 551 steps. As we got closer to the top, the hallways got tighter and tighter until we reached a rope… Yep, a rope to help you up the tiniest passageway I’ve ever seen. As we reached the rope I had 2 options running through my head; (1)drop to a panicked fetal position and scream or (2)calm down, go to my happy place and get up those damn stairs. I chose option number 2, even though option 1 was pretty appealing at the moment.
The climb and minor claustrophobic meltdown were all worth it though, the views were spectacular!

On Top of Rome

St. Peter’s Square and Rome from the top of the Cathedral dome.

St. Peter’s Cathedral

Moon Over the Vatican

Grand Entrance

One of the many gorgeous ceilings in St. Peter’s Cathedral

The Papal Altar (you can’t tell in the picture but it was enormous at 95 feet tall)

Cut to day 2 of the Vatican showdown where we hit the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel. The pictures below are only of the Vatican Museum, because no photos were allowed in the Sistine Chapel… Bummer. It was an amazing piece of work though and so surreal to see something that you have only admired in textbooks all your life. What a great few days.

2000 year old floor in the Vatican Museum

Where is Waldo?