We’ve decided that the best way to beat the crowds at the Vatican Museums is to go there on a weekday, not during Christmas week. So although we will be in Rome at the end of our trip we’ve decided to take the train down for the day and see the museums. We were well rewarded.
After a thrilling taxi ride to the Vatican Museums, we arrive to find that there is no line to buy tickets. There are some Americans here and some school groups and, of course, the omnipresent Japenese tour groups, but otherwise it’s pretty empty for the Vatican Museums (yay!) First we take a look around the garden in the middle of the museums. There’s a giant pinecone here. Cast in 1 A.D!
Our first destination is the pinacoteca. We enjoy the fact that they have a large collection of 13th and 14th century paintings. We spend quite a while looking at the collection until we realize that we need to get a move on if we are going to see Papal Apartments and the Sistine Chapel and then get over to take a look at St. Peter’s.
There is no easy way to reach the Papal Apartments and the Sistine Chapel. You have to go up and down a ton of stairs and through endless gift buying opportunities. If you had a lot of time some of this stuff would be quite interesting. I enjoy the hall of maps.
Finally we reach the Papal apartments painted by Raphael and his workshop. Here are a few of my favorites –
We eat in the Papal Cafeteria and get extra helpings of eggplant parmesan from the nice lady behind the counter. Ladies like John. Then we are off to St. Peter’s. It’s a long walk around the outside of the museums to the church. There are no shortcuts. We asked.
We get there and, oh no, this is where all the people are. The line to get in is gigantic. We post John in line and Sarah and I take a few pictures.
We don’t think we will have enough time to get into the church and then find a taxi and get to our train. So we decide to leave without seeing St. Peter’s. We’ve all been there before so it is not quite the calamity it seems.
After another even more exciting taxi ride, we are back at the train station. Now we have time to kill. There are few seats so we settle into a bar/cafe and make a beer take a long, long time. Finally it is “All aboard!” or however they say that in Italian and we are zipping through the Italian countryside at 150 mph. We eat some sandwiches at home because we are way too exhausted to contemplate going out.