The Vatican City is special in so many ways.Its the smallest independent sovereign country in the world. And then you don't a passport to enter the country! I know it applies for entire Europe but its a privilege for us Indians as we have to get a visa and show our passport at every border. Okay fine under the Schengen Visa even WE can travel across all the countries of the European Union. I just wanted to make it special that the border is not a real one. The Vatican city is located in midst of the city of Rome and as you cross the Tavere river, you enter it!
|On the Trastevere river bridge that takes to you Vatican from Italy. That is the Supreme Court of Italy in the background. Talk about Splendid architecture!|
As you know already, we were covering entire Rome in one day. We had kept Trastavere and Vatican for the next day as per our original schedule. So doing Rome in a single day meant hurrying towards every site and spending only the required time at a spot. After Being mesmerised by the innumerable fountains around the city ( Trevi Fountains, Spanish Steps and Piazza Di Navona in particular) we proceeded towards the Vatican City.
I had heard a lot about the Vatican city since childhood, The Pope and all. For me it was more about the its history and architecture and less of religion. I am saying this because I have come across people who avoided this place as they were not Catholics. Anyways we were super excited to visit 'one more country' :D
Vatican City is a non walled area. With an area of just 44 hectares and a population of just 800, its the smallest nation in every aspect. It has 4 main parts: The St Peter's Basilica, The Sistine Chapel, the Vatican Gardens and the museum. The entry to the Basilica is of course free but the charges of entry to the museum are hefty. There were touts all over the place that promised us entry to the museum without the need of standing in any queue. Every agent tried to grab hold of us and charged for a hefty amount for skipping the line. All the tout were either Pakistani or of Bangladeshi origin. So we did not face any problem while haggling with them. However we avoided them all as going to the Sistine Chapel meant another 3 hours. The entire place was horrifyingly crowded. There was a long line to get inside the Basilica. We asked one of them whether buying 'their ticket' would help us to skip this line too. They admitted defeat and said that nothing could be done there.
We had walked so much just to enter the enter the Basilica that I was dead exhausted. The glaring Roman Sun did not help either. I had been wandering on the Roman streets since five in the morning. But there were no place to sit. The Indian in me scanned every possible corner inside the Basilica for any possibility of sitting.
I was not the only one drained. I spotted few people sitting on the floor here and there but the security personnel made them get up. So I did not take any chance.
Then in the centre of the Basilica there was a narrow strip which offered the possibility of supporting my bottoms. I would not have thought that way if I had not spotted people doing that with similar mentality. So there accumulated a handful group of people who were taking the support of that narrow strip (including me). Then one of them gradually slid down and sat on the floor. I found this to be a good opportunity to follow her path. I too sat down. Gradually many people followed us and after a while a large group of people was sitting on the floor. Finally hubs also gave in and sat. It had been just a matter of a couple of minutes when a security personnel came made us all stand up! Ha Ha! But in the meantime my feet got enough rest to walk for a while :)
Even though we were in a hurry, we spent around three hours exploring the Basilica. The architecture and the paintings were magnificent. If I were a history/art/architecture buff, I could have easily spent an entire day just staring at those ceilings!
|Look at those impeccably dressed soldiers!|
Make sure you wear something that goes below your knees and your attire should not have a deep cut front or back. Also stay away from bare shoulders! If you are not modestly dressed, you won't be allowed to enter or you have to buy a shawl to drape yourself. I believe that won't look good in pictures!
Maxi dress: Zara
Sunnies: from Turkey