Day 66 - St Peter's - Vatican - Castel Sant Angelo
Trip Start Apr 19, 2011
69Trip End Jun 28, 2011
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It felt like we had St Peter's Piazza to ourselves and it only took 5 minutes to get through the scanners and inside.
We were a bit put out as we had all dressed in long trousers and longer sleeved tops only to find people inside with knee length shorts and tops that barely covered the shoulders, so much for strict dress codes!
The Basilica itself was amazing and without the crowds we felt we got the most from it, however didn't venture up to the top of the Cupola.
By the time we got out the crowds had grown and the queue through the scanners had multiplied ten fold so we were pleased with our effort.
Then it was a walk around the outside of the Vatican walls to the Vatican museum entrance.
We took a chance with our early start at not prebooking in the hope the queue wouldn't be too long.
Luckily it wasn't and after a short 40 minute queue we were inside and away, but not before a few words with the inevitable queue jumpers.
We treated the girls to children's audio guides and this was a good move as they were interested right around all the various museums in the Vatican and actually came away being able to tell us a few facts, whether they retain them we'll wait and see....
By midday the crowds had grown huge and it was a case of jostling your way along particularly in the last stages before the Sistine Chapel
Once we had our fill of that we headed for the exit but it took us past the restaurants, and for once it wasn't rip off the tourist prices, so we sat down to pizza to refuel before facing the heat outside again.
Maybe we are a bit cynical but the history of religion where they plundered their wealth from religious wars and new religious leaders pulled down previous buildings and churches to build new ones in their own glory seems hypocritical, and looking at the Egyptian museum where bodies of mummies were on display makes you wonder what sort of uproar there would be if the Egyptians dug up a few Popes and put them on display.
After that we headed outside and hit the heat and immediately wished we had shorts on as it was a scorcher, and unfortunately Greg's hat was in the wash so the chrome dome was getting a baking, luckily the sun here isn't as fierce as ours though.
We walked to the Tiber River and to the Castel Sant Angelo which was originally the Mausoleum of Emperor Hadrian.
This building doesn't look that stunning from the outside but was very interesting inside with a spiral road going up inside and buildings now on top.
It was once used to house the Popes and has a covered walkway still running to St Peter's, and you are able to see the Pope's bedroom in all it's glory, including friezes that contained lots on paintings of naked women.......couldn't quite work that one out!
The top of the Castel gave a great view of central Rome and the girls got their first glimpse of the Colosseum which was on tomorrow's agenda.
Then it was back to the apartment for cold drinks, cool showers before we headed out for an Italian dinner at a local restaurant, which was fun, typically Italian, full of loud talk and banter and the food was great, so it was home to bed, happiness filled.