Today was probably one of the longest day we have had on this holiday. We started at Saint Peters Basilica and thought if we get there early morning we would beat the rush … sadly in this instance there is no relief from the crowds and the cue goes on for at least 300 meters. I was very surprised with just how quickly the crowds move and it wasn’t long before we were 2/3’s of the way through. This is where I surprised myself, a young Italian couple decided they didn’t want to wait in line and stood directly in front of us. Both hubby and I and the couple behind us were blow away, they did it so casually as though they had every right to step in front of the hundreds of people behind them. Now usually I would sit there silently fuming but never ever saying everything but this time I decided to tell them that this was not the end of the line and that they had to keep walking to the back. It took quiet a bit of explaining to make them aware that I was serious and eventually they went away – YAY to me!
We have seen a lot of churches and this one is huge, it is very ornate and there is marble and gold everywhere. There are also seas of people and to be honest we didn’t really linger.
What we did do is found our second item on the trip to add to our artifact wall. So the first one was the lovely religious egg with the metal casing, the second we found is an amazing true to size reproduction of a roman centurion’s helmet complete with but hair hanging out the top. It’s very very cool and while we have had to up the weight limits on all our bags how can you say no to a helmet like that.
Lunch today was hilarious, we found a little restaurant with a loud Italian owner who declared his wife had made nearly anything and that this was a restaurant not a church so the only options for drinks were beer or wine. This didn’t go down to well with the English couple at the next table but we loved it. He also called my husband cheap for ordering us a pizza to share but soon appologied when the pasta course came our soon after.
We did a Crypts and Catacombs tour in the afternoon and were taken to three different sites, the first was a Catacomb outside the city walls, it is 4 storeys deep and very interesting in learning how they came about. We then visited an 18th century church build on top of a 16th century church built on top of a 6th century apartment building built on top of a 1st century roman house. Obviously only the bottom level of each building remains but it was really wonderful to be able to walk down some steps and almost go back in time. Obviously there isn’t much left but what is left is pretty amazing. Finally we visited the Capuchin Crypt, which you may have heard about where monks have decorated they Crypt with bones. There is a clock made out of hand bones and light fixtures made out of finger bones, an arch made out of pelvises but the most creepy bit is the monks that have been left whole, one of which still has hair on his chin 600 year later.
I was unable to get any pictures of this tour because all are religious sites but it is definitely worth doing if you are ever in Rome. It gives you a completely different view of the city.
Finally after then racing over to the Vatican we did a night tour of the museum and Sistine Chapel. It is huge and there is so much to see here its almost overwhelming I thought the nighttime visits here were busy but from what I have heard – if you visit during the day you get pushed along by a sea of people not able to stop and take a good look at anything so thank you very much for the night tour.
After this we pretty much collapsed both of us dragging ourselves to a taxi and home to bed. Tomorrow you may have heard Rome is going to be involved in Demonstrations. We have been told that these are very likely to turn violent, as the Italians are a very passionate people so we will be careful and try and stay out of the way. One thing we are worried about is how this will affect out train journey on Sunday … let us home things calm down after Saturday.