Bella Roma {Vatican City}

You guys, I have such a hard time writing a new post after yesterday’s. I love being greeted with those precious photos and words when I come to my blog. I tear up all over again just re-reading the vows Christopher wrote to me. But, I still have more to share from our trip. So many more wonderful things happened after the vow renewal. Beginning with…

ciardi bar collageBreakfast at Ciardi Bar where a Roman centurion walked in… ๐Ÿ˜‰

vatican cityNext up! Vatican City! For those who don’t know, Vatican City is actually considered it’s own country. Yes, Country. That’s right. Add that to the passport! Well, not really. You don’t get a stamp in your passport for visiting Vatican City, but it IS it’s own Country!

vatican museumWe started at the Vatican Museum which we had online reservations for. Again we bypassed a crazy long line and just waltzed right in. You guys, if you ever go to Italy and aren’t with a tour group, read Rick Steves’ book. He tells you all the places you need to have reservations to bypass lines. Seriously, we almost never waited in a line.

vatican museum collageSome of the statues in the Vatican Museum. Christopher joked that we needed a “family statue” like the one at the top. If you can’t tell the statue has a small bust of a woman at the man’s left elbow and then an alligator at his feet. Christopher said that we could sub in our dog for the alligator. He thought this might look nice on our front porch. ๐Ÿ˜› And the statues at the bottom… the one on the left (Anubis) we thought would make a good statue of Oreo with a few modifications and the one on the right is one that I sort of just fell in love with. It has a sweetness about it that I liked. ๐Ÿ™‚

vatican museum (6)ย The Vatican Museum is full of hallway after hallway of statues, paintings and tapestries. The ceilings were my favorite, though. So gorgeous. Just down from this hallway was the famous Sistine Chapel.

sistine chapelNo photos were allowed so these are all from the Sistine Chapel Wiki page. It was so cool to see, though! We had a (surprise surprise) Rick Steve’s audio tour which walked us through everything we were seeing. The Creation of Adam was really very cool to actually see in person as one more of those many things we grew up seeing.

last judgementMichelangelo’s The Last Judgement {photos from Wikipedia} is on the front wall of the chapel. The photo on the top right shows the flailed skin of what many believe to be a self portrait of Michelangelo painted on the “hell side” of the last judgement. Some say he painted himself there because that was how he felt about being forced to paint the Sistine Chapel (he was a sculptor and architect, not a painter. He was strong armed into doing this project). Other say that Michelangelo painted himself there because he questioned his faith as he grew older. It really brought out the human side of a man who has always seemed larger than life to me. Also, the close up on the bottom right is where he painted his biggest critic wrapped in a snake on the hell side of the final judgement which we found amusing.

st peter's at vatican city (7)Next up… St. Peter’s Basilica! We walked through a short cut thanks to Rick Steves’ advice (also Melissa, the owner of the inn we were staying at, suggested the same short cut) from the Sistine Chapel to St Peter’s Basilica. Yay for no waiting in lines. ๐Ÿ™‚

st peter's basilica collageUp until 1990 this was the biggest church in the World. Most papal ceremonies are held here. It is enormous. And it was packed full of people. Lots of tourists like us, but many many pilgrims there to pay homage to the place where the Apostle Peter died and is buried.

st peter's basilicaThe statue of St Peter to the right is the one that people walk by and touch as an act of reverence. Jesus told Peter “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” {Matthew 16:18}. This is why this particular church was built over the place where Peter was martyred and also why he is so highly regarded in the Catholic faith. The photo at the top left is of the canopy over Peter’s tomb and the bottom left shot is the best I could get of his tomb (it’s the gold bit in the background).

st peter's at vatican city (9)My favorite thing at St Peter’s Basilica was Michelangelo’s Pieta. Heart wrenching to imagine Mary’s sorrow over the sacrifice her Son made. In this particular piece Mary is bigger than Jesus and the way she cradles Him so easily brings to mind that Jesus was not only the Savior of the world, but also her child.

swiss guardAfter walking out of St Peter’s we stopped to ask the Swiss Guard a couple of questions about the Angelus the next day. While we were there we saw some people taking photos with them so we figured we might as well ask too! This guard may not be smiling in the photo, but he was super friendly, helpful with our questions, and seemed more than happy to take photos with us. ๐Ÿ™‚

blue iceThere was a Blue Ice right outside St Peter’s Square so you better believe we stopped in! I love that they have soy gelato! So good!

appian way collageNext up we headed to the Ancient Appian Way! Built in 312 BC this is Rome’s oldest and greatest road. And when I say “Rome” I don’t mean the city, but what was then the entire civilized world. It was so surreal to be walking on this road and thinking of all the 2,325 years worth of people who have walked this same road. From victors returning from war to perhaps even the Apostle Paul {Acts 28:13-15}. There is a line of catacombs along this stretch as well and we chose to go to the oldest Christian catacomb, San Callistoย (no photos allowed inside).ย Many of the Christians buried in these catacombs lived and died normal lives, but many were also martyred for their faith. Walking through that ancient place really made my mind race. Thankful for the religious freedom that I enjoy, but also wondering if that freedom makes it easy for me to be complacent in my faith. Taking a few minutes to stop and just pray in that sacred place that I always listen to and follow the voice of God even when it isn’t easy. Also feelings of gratefulness that I live in a place where infant fatality isn’t what it once was. Seeing all those tiny niches for babies and children who died in the first century world was so sad.

tazza collageWe hopped on a bus from the Appian Way to downtown Rome so Christopher could have another granita con panna from Tazza. It was just as good this time as it was the first. I love that I got a shot of him just after his first bite… look at that face of bliss, haha!

misc dinnerDinner was at Miscellaneaย which was good. This was the best spaghetti with tomatoes and basil that I had in Rome – very yummy! And the bruschetta was my second favorite after ZaZa’s! Plus they brought watermelon out for dessert on the house. ๐Ÿ™‚ Oh, and did I mention that our waiter was named Romeo? This place is a winner! And the location isn’t shabby…

pantheon at nightWe ate outside next to the Pantheon which was gorgeous at night time!

journaling3The shot of me is from dinner at Misc, but the shot of Christopher is actually from our dinner at Di Matteo in Naples. I just figured I would put them up together. We had a lot of fun passing this travel journal back and forth and writing together. We did most of the writing over dinners or on trains because those were the only times we sat down long enough to write. ๐Ÿ™‚ As I write these recaps for the blog I have this journal open right beside me reminding me of the thoughts and feelings we experienced on this trip. I’m so glad we did this! ๐Ÿ™‚

Up next tomorrow… we get to see the Pope! ๐Ÿ™‚
Love Rach

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16 responses to “Bella Roma {Vatican City}

  1. Oh my gosh that looks like SO MUCH FUN! It’s gorgeous there! And I think it’s awesome that you have this blog to keep track of everything!

  2. That looks amazing – such beautiful pictures!

  3. oh my goodness..i just got caught up on all of your adventures…so stinking jealous! love all of the amazing pictures and the vow renewal ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. I am LOVING these vacation recaps!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. I’m so glad y’all took this trip. The next time y’all go y’all night have a little one or two tagging along. ๐Ÿ˜œ Who knows?!

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