Rome, the capital of Italy I see myself living here. The culture, the history, the ambience just has my name all over it! I think throughout the whole tour, hubsta & I were waiting for our arrival in Rome. Well, of course, we would be, we’ve watched “Gladiator” & “Spartacus” over & over with the goal of visiting Rome one day just to shout “ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!” at the Colosseum. Goal achieved – thank you Topdeck.
A visit to Rome wouldn’t be complete without a visit to the Vatican. Topdeck had organised an official Vatican tour operation to help us experience the best of the Vatican.
The Vatican is home to just over 900 residents, one of them being the leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, he, unfortunately, wasn’t around to receive us. The Vatican has 11 museums (I did not know this) and, is the home of the world famous Sistine Chapel. We couldn’t take pictures of the chapel (I’m pretty sure we all know why *rolls eyes*) however, we did feel like cool kids – well one of the 4million cool kids who visit the chapel every year. Briefly about the chapel, it was painted by Michelangelo, a sculptor. The ceiling depicts the “Creation” and the altar walls the “Last Judgement.” The painting is – for a lack of a better word – STUNNING! The detail and interpretation of the stories are just astounding. It’s said that this was Michelangelo’s last & best work as his eyes were never the same after.
We were so overwhelmed by it that we didn’t even know where to start. The one part of the painting that everyone was excited to see was when God breathed / touched life into Adam, the first man. Felt like we were part of it! A chapel is a holy place; I strongly recommend that you shut it whilst in there as you might be kicked out! Appreciate art in silence, #SuchIsLife.
Another highlight of the tour was a tour of the “PopeMobiles” – talk about an impressive collection! The Pope’s cars are bullet proof (obvs) as when he makes an appearance; he draws in quite a crowd. The most famous of the cars is the convertible Fiat, why you might ask? Pope John Paul II was almost assassinated whilst being chauffeured into St. Peter’s Square in 1981. He survived 4 gunshots (he is gangsta like that), his shooter was apprehended shortly after, sentenced to life prison in Italy & a few years later deported to Turkey.
Aaaaah, the Colosseum or the Colosseo as the Italians call it, the Emblem of Rome! It’s called the Colosseum because it’s literally colossal! It’s the largest amphitheatre in Rome, and I think to ever be built. It was used by Emperors to entertain its people for free at times (this was when they really wanted to score brownie points from the public) amongst other things. If you’d like to make it inside the Colosseum, I strongly suggest you make your way to this monument VERY EARLY! The line to purchase tickets to get into the arena is long, so is the line to enter #obviously. Standing in the queue for 3 hours is normal. DO NOT fall for tour operators outside of the arena – not all of them are legit – they will charge you ±€30 for what they claim to be a 2-hour tour – yes you’ll skip the long queue & make it in faster. However, the tour will be 30 min & it will not be 100% value for your money. Once inside – hopefully not ±€30 later, you’ll keep replaying scenes from movies & series you’ve watched that have recreated this arena. Best feeling ever!
Another place we visited, well, what’s left of it was the Roman Forum. The Roman Forums was a showpiece centre – originally a burial ground. The story that caught my attention the most was the story of the Vestal Virgins who tended the sacred fire amongst other things in the Roman Forum. The virgins chosen were aged between 6 & 10 years old and they had to serve for 30 years. After their 30 years, they were free to marry. The virgins had to remain virgins throughout their term if they lost their virginity during their term, punishment was being buried alive! They’d be put in a hole, given food for the first 2 days & thereafter left to die – that’s more than a good reason to abstain #TheHorror.
I clearly loved this place and could go on & on, my advice is to book a tour & enjoy the city! See below other art we saw at the Vatican.
Next up —- > Venice!