Vatican City


Day 2 of my first solo travel to Rome was all about the Vatican City. I got there so early in the morning right before the tourists arrived. It was a cold, quiet, and serene day. While standing in the middle of the plaza, I thought to myself, “OMG, I am standing on the ground where much of Catholicism’s history took place”.

It is not easy for me to summarize everything that I like about this place, so I will do them in batches. Here’s part one (pictures described as you go counterclockwise):

1.  The double spiral staircase leading to the exit doors of the Vatican Museum.  This one is a long staircase and you really have to watch your step because the width between each step varies as you go down them.

2. “School of Athens” by Raphael.

As I mentioned last week, I studied about Rome in college. One of the main topics that was discussed was the famous paintings that can be found in the Vatican Museum. “School of Athens” was one of the paintings that struck me the most because it was so artfully and beautifully crafted, so having the chance to see this painting first hand was a moment that was indescribable to me.

Raphael’s commissions occupied four rooms in one area of the Vatican museum. This painting can be found in the “Stanza della Segnatura” (Room of the Signatura). When I first saw this painting, I literally took a few steps back towards the opposite side of the room just so I can see the entire masterpiece (that and the fact that it was crowded).

3. The view of the city from St. Peter’s Basilica.

I have a confession to make, this picture was actually taken during my second visit to Rome. Due to poor planning on my part, I didn’t get the chance to go up the first time I came to the city.

So what does one have to do in order to see this amazing view? Well, you only need to climb 320 steps to get to the very top of the dome. For anybody that knows me well, I am not a big fan of heights, so this was quite a big challenge for me. Getting to the top was not a piece of cake, but I survived it and this was my reward for it.



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