Saturday, November 19, 2011

Day 177 – Vatican City, Pantheon, and Plaza Venezia

I can cross one more city/state off my list today since I visited Vatican City, a separate entity completely surrounded by Italy, and ruled entirely by the Pope. We took the metro to the closest stop near the Vatican and walked the rest of the way. I would have thought there would be some sort of procedure to get inside the Vatican, but it was easily crossed over when you walked across barricades separating the area from Italy, and you didn't need a passport to enter. There was a long line to enter St. Peter's Basilica, so we decided to just take pictures outside. I may decide to visit when I'm in Rome again since other hostel guests I met suggested that it was worth the wait to gain access inside. I also want to see the Vatican Museum, which includes the Sistine Chapel, painted by Michaelangelo.

We walked through the city, stopping first at the Saint Angelo Castle, and then the Piazza Navone, where many street artists filled the center of the plaza, drawing caricatures and portraits of tourists, or sold their own paintings of famous sites in Rome. Nearby was the Pantheon, which I thought would be an easily recognizable structure, except I missed it completely when I stood right in front of it. It was quite impressive to walk inside and see the enormous dome that covered the top, carved entirely out of marble. They say that the engineering and design of this structure was so advanced in the Roman times that if the dome was made in the present with cement, the dome would completely topple over due to its own weight. Yet, here is the structure, almost completely immaculate and undamaged.

Later, we stopped by an easily missed, but incredible church called the Saint Ignazio di Loyolo Church. We walked in to the most intricate and colorful murals of religious scenes on the ceilings of the main hall way and the altar. It seems every single church in Rome has its own unique design and elements that no two look in any way similar to the rest.

Our last stop was the Venezia Plaza, where there were numerous sites to see in the surrounding area. We took picture in front of the Monumento a Vittorio Emmanuele II and stopped by the Campidoglio before using the public bus to get our way back to Termini Station. Of course, we ended up taking the bus in the wrong direction and got off the bus on the outskirts of the city, before finally taking the bus back. Amateur tourist mistake!

Saint Paul's Basilica


Saint Ignazio di Loyolo Church

Monumento a Vittorio Emmanuele II

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