The Vatican City (part 3 of Rome, Italy)

My second last day in Rome was the last Sunday of the month, so I set out for the famous Vatican museum which is free on that day. The line was too long, so I decided not to wait. But I did wander through St. Peter’s Square.

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It was a bright sunny morning. It seemed as though mass was in progress somewhere inside, with video screens outside in the square. The music and the sound of the Pope’s voice were nice to listen to. Here you can see one of the beautiful fountains in St. Peter’s Square with the Basilica in the background.

The day after, I returned to the Vatican, hoping to get a tour with the same company that took me through the Coliseum. Unfortunately, the morning tour reservation was canceled which meant that I would not be able to skip the line when returning for the afternoon tour. I had no choice though because it was my last day.

I arrived the tour, where we began to wait in line for the Vatican Museum for about 1.5 hours. The tour company buys tickets on our behalf, so the whole group has to stay together. A lady got real mad when part of our group fell behind and moved up again. She followed us the whole way to the entrance, shouting at our tour guide. We made it into the museum just in time before closure, leaving hundreds of people behind us who would have waited hours for nothing. We got in okay, but I had to check my laptop with security and they wouldn’t let me take it through.

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The famous statue. After getting in, we knew the place would close within just 1 hour, so everyone was rushing to get through everything. The rooms were packed wall to wall, so it was not very enjoyable. It was impossible to just stand and properly observe everything.

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A funny looking statue. He has a big mouth.

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A big fancy box of some sort.

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This is the “Gallery of Maps”. As you can see, it’s literally wall to wall people. It would have taken a lot of effort to make the ceiling though. It’d be even worse to keep it clean.

Shortly after this, we proceeded into the Sistine Chapel. Signs warned that silence is expected and photography is prohibited. It was very crowded though, and security couldn’t stop people from taking photos. It was too dark, so I didn’t try to take any myself. Just seconds after getting in, there was an announcement that the Sistine Chapel (and the Vatican Museum) was closing, so everyone had to exit at that point.

Next was St. Peter’s Basillica.

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Everything inside was beautifully decorated, perhaps like many of the ancient ruins once were.

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Light shines into the Basilica. This place wasn’t quite as crowded. Our tour guide was struggling to give us explanation of everything, because security told her a few times she was not allowed to talk. She just kept doing it anyway. After all, she had paying customers to show around.

I mentioned that I had to check my laptop. Since the museum had closed by the time I was through, I could no longer return to the check-in point to retrieve it. I was worried for quite a while, until I was told I could get it back from the Gendarmie (Swiss Guard, Customs).

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These were the guys I had to talk to first. I had to first catch their attention, and then tell them what I was looking for. It was a bit of an awkward process, but they let me through and sent me out back. There, I had to talk to another guard who made me wait with others for about 10 minutes, who were looking for items like umbrellas. After a while, he sent us further out back, past the Vatican gas station, into a secure building where another guard gave our stuff back. The other guards had a good sense of humour.

On the way out, the front guards had the gates open like above and they saluted me as I exited the secured area. There were many tourists all around with cameras who must have thought I was some VIP. Exiting the Vatican entirely was a major relief, because I finally had my laptop back, and I was tired of all the standing in lines.

This concludes my blog posting about my trip to Rome. Check out my gallery for the rest of my photos!

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