Our Most Recent Adventure Was Rome, Italy - Part 1

Veronica and I just got back a couple of weeks ago from our most recent adventure. This time we went to Rome, Italy with a Valentines Day and over night side trip via high speed train to Florence.
A few years back while we were on a Med cruise we were supposed to have a day long private excursion to see some of the sights in Rome. The excursion was to include a visit to the Vatican and the Sistine Chapel. Unfortunately the weather was so bad with rain, a lot of wind and really rough seas that our ship was unable to dock in Civitavecchia, which is approximately 50 miles North of Rome. Veronica had her heart set on visiting the Vatican City and seeing the sights within its walls and she was very disappointed as we sailed away seeking calmer waters and weather. I made a promise to her that we would go to Rome in the future and this trip was a fulfillment of that promise.

The journey over to Rome made for a very long 24-48 hour period of time. We flew out of Norfolk in the early morning and into Atlanta where we ended up having an approximately 9 hour layover.
We ended up spending a majority of our time in one of Deltas SkyClub Lounges. These lounges are great for layovers with food, beverages, wifi, re-charging stations, a spa and even showers...which I took advantage of just to get refreshed before our 11 hour plus flight from Atlanta to Rome flight.
Upon arriving in Rome after the very long flight, we got our luggage and met up with a driver/vehicle, which we had reserved before leaving home in order to get from the airport to our hotel.
We stayed at the Rione Monti Suites which is in the Rione (neighborhood) of Monti. We arrived at our hotel before our room was available so we dropped off our luggage and sluggishly headed out to check out the sights of Rome.
Throughout the course of our next 8 days we saw many sights in Rome and even took a high speed train to Florence on Valentines day, where we also spent a night and got upgraded to a Suite which was "Sweet" . We returned to Rome the following evening via a high speed train.

Below are some of the sights that we saw in both Rome the Vatican:
We had made reservations through Walks Of Italy for a Pristine Sistine Early Entrance Small Group Tour ... Walks Of Italy Tours  that started at 7:30AM so we had to wake up before daybreak and walk approximately 2 miles to arrive at the meeting place just outside of the Vatican City walls.

A tunnel that we had to walk through en route to our meeting place for our tour

Below are the Spanish Steps (Italian: Scalinata di Trinità dei Monti) are a set of steps in Rome, Italy, climbing a steep slope between the Piazza di Spagna at the base and Piazza Trinità dei Monti, dominated by the Trinità dei Monti church at the top. The Fontana della Barcaccia (Fountain of the Ugly Boat is a Baroque-style fountain found at the foot of the Spanish Steps in Rome's Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Square)

Below is one of many many fountains that can be found in Rome. This is the Babuino Fountain.

This old subway train arrived while we were waiting at our meeting place for our tour to start. I asked the conductor if I could go in the "car" to take a few photos before the crowds arrived and I was allowed to.

And now we begin our tour

While our tour was going through the museums hallways I took the opportunity to take some photos through the amazingly clean windows. Below is a guard who was greeting and directing incoming traffic

Other views from the museum windows

Many of the items within the museum have been either donated or given to the Vatican as gifts

The dome of St. Peter's Basilica


During our tour we visited the Pio Clementino Museum and its Round Hall. The hall features several important sculptures, including this colossal gilded-bronze statue of Hercules

The walls and ceilings werte adorned with beautiful paintings and artwork everywhere I looked

Here is a link so that you can take your own 3D tour of the Sistine Chapel and Saint Peters Square. Check out a few of their other videos too....
This ends part #1 of our visit within the Vatican City Walls

Our Adventures in Rome, Italy - Part 2

This is Part 2 of our tour within the Vatican City

Below is one of many really huge tapestries that were hanging on the walls in the museums hallways

The Liberation of St Peter is a fresco painting by the Italian High Renaissance artist Raphael (Raffaello Sanzio Da Urbino) and his assistant Giulio Romano. It was painted in 1514 as part of Raphael's commission to decorate with frescoes the rooms that are now known as the Stanze di Raffaello, in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican. It is located in the Stanza di Eliodoro, which is named after The Expulsion of Heliodorus from the Temple. The painting shows how Saint Peter was liberated from Herod's prison by an angel.

The Pieta : The Pity (1498–1499) is a work of Renaissance sculpture by Michelangelo Buonarroti, housed in St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City. It is the first of a number of works of the same theme by the artist.  It is the only piece Michelangelo ever signed. This famous work of art depicts the body of Jesus on the lap of his mother Mary after the Crucifixion

The beauty of St. Peter's Basilica

The Holy Door or 'Porta Sancta' is only open during a Holy Year (Jubilee), which occur every 25 years (the last one in 2000). On the first day of a holy year, the Pope strikes the brick wall with a silver hammer and opens it to the pilgrims. The message imparted by the Holy Door is that God's mercy reaches out to mankind's frailty. This door is also called the "Door of the Great Pardon". Its panels portray scenes of man's sin and his redemption through God's mercy

Below is the St. Peter's Basilica balcony where the new Pope is revealed

One of the fountains in St. Peter's Square

St. Peter's Square

 A Vatican guard

Additional views from St. Peter's Square

This concluded our tour within the Vatican City, the Vatican Museums and St. Peter's Basilica. Unfortunately no photography was allowed within the Sistine Chapel. I did see at least one person discretely hiding her phone while walking around taking photos. Out of respect I wasn't going to do it. 
This ends Part 2 of our Rome and Florence adventure.  
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