Thursday, 8 September 2011

Rome: Part 2.

This is the second instalment to my trip to Rome. If you haven't read about my first day there then click here.

On Sunday we headed straight to The Vatican City and St. Peters Basilica. We had to prepare ahead because The Vatican has strict rules. You cannot have bare legs or have shoulders showing inside the Basilica. It is seen as disrespectful. When your're outside it is okay. I wore a dress and my leggings, oh my I was BOILING in my leggings. It was 33 degrees outside and I was sweltering. 

I don't mean this harshly but I wasn't overly impressed by the Vatican. I was expecting this massive wow factor but to be honest I didn't feel like I was in the smallest city in the world. I just sort of felt like I was in the middle of a grey square with lots of pillars.

People should not be discouraged because I say this. I don't regret going at all I just thought I would be more impressed. Since we went on a Sunday 'Holy Day' it was really busy which we expected. As we were queuing to go into the Basilica we noticed there were MASSIVE crowds forming with flags and crosses. I turned round to Lotte and joked 'Maybe the Pope is coming?' but no lie as we were about to enter the Basilica there was an uproar of cheers and screaming!!! Then the TV screens switched on and there you had it.

The Pope Benedict. He was talking from a window above us that was shielded by pillars so we couldn't actually see him but we could have done if we were on the other side of The Vatican. Even though I am not religious and to be perfectly honest barely agree with any of the Roman Catholics views. I was touched. There were people on the ground as people heard the pope give a sermon to the crowd. We didn't realise that he did a 5 minute sermon (in Latin so I didn't have a clue what he was on about!) every first Sunday of the month. There were people crying as this was obviously a huge deal to them and I was there. Now I find that pretty special and very unexpected.

Before entering St. Peters Basilica. The view of The Vatican behind me. I found this view pretty darn spectacular!

Inside the basilica. We had to be quiet as Mass was taking place at the back with the Pope's bishops. It was really cool to see some of the tombs like the late pope John Paul II who recently had his beatification in May. (Sorry it's so blurry!)

You do not need a passport to visit the Vatican but you do have to go through a sort of customs so if you ever do go take note of that. Since the Vatican is it's own city it has it owns rules, laws and legislation set out by the Pope himself. It has it's own army, police, postal service and post office which we saw. I do like the fact that I have set foot in the smallest country on Earth too!

After lunch we headed to the Pantheon in central Rome. This is one of the 354 churches Rome has (so you could technically visit one church a day for a year!). 

The Pantheon was built in 126 AD and was initially built as a dedication to the Roman Gods. It is now famous for housing the tombs of the original Roman royal family before Italy turned a republic in 1946. It also houses the body of the famous Italian painter Raphael. 

Afterwards we went on a Roman bus tour which is largely where I learnt all the historic facts haha! I am not one of these tourists that reads books as I go a long but I found it VERY interesting. 

On the bus.

 There was one thing I had to before we left Rome for the last time. I had to see the Trevi Fountain at night and it was the most perfect way to end our time in the city. 

It was so beautiful...

that I couldn't not have one last ice cream outside by it :)

On our last day when we were picked up to go to the airport. I was sat next to these two animated American ladies from Ohio. Boy they made me laugh when I was sad to be leaving!!! One of them asked me "How does Rome make you feel?" and I initially said "um I don't know how to answer that question" - I mean who asks that?!

So I asked her instead and she what she said summed up exactly how I felt. American lady: "It's so charming. I feel so charmed and enchanted by it all don't you?"

She was so right and at the moment on the bus we were sat at the top of a high street. You could see The Vatican to your right, the Colosseum in front of us and all these beautiful churches and architecture surrounding it. It honestly felt like it had been photo-shopped! But it was real and so authentic.

If you go to Rome I promise you will be so enchanted by it all. It is a charming city and it has so far been my favourite city I have seen in my life.


ktjane said...

I love that question, "How does Rome make you feel?" It is a very American thing to say, I think.

Laura Anne said...

Awesome. I've always wanted to see more of Italy - to see Rome, Lake Maggiore and Lake Como, more of Milan, Florence...


Starlight said...

Pantheon is my favourite building in Paris and now I really want to see this one in Rome.

Kristen said...

The fountain looks stunning at night. I'm putting Rome on my to go see list now!!!

Holly said...

Looks like an amazing trip, and wow, that is so super cool that you saw the Pope!

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