Jon and I got up bright and early to leave Italy for a while. We left the kids behind for this one.
Here is Jon outside of Vatican City!
We did a tour for early time inside the Sistine Chapel, so our tour guide was very informative but rushed us through the galleries to get as much quiet time as possible inside the chapel before the throngs entered.
There are three galleries along the way: the first with marble statues…
The second with tapestries and an ornate 2D painted ceiling that looks like 3D…
The final long hallway with paintings of the countries and busts of the leaders…
And finally, down a simple staircase that looks (and smells) like you are heading down into any church basement…
And you are in the Sistine Chapel. Photos are forbidden, but Jon and I felt like rebels.
I will say, the chapel had SO much going on that it is a bit busy. Add on the fact that you have to look up the whole time, and I would dare say the place could make you motion sick. Or at the very least, dizzy. But still incredible…I actually found myself more intrigued by Michelangelo’s Last Judgement than by the ceiling panels. And my favorite commentary from the experience was an explanation about Michelangelo’s Jonah panel, in which the whale looks more like a giant tuna or something; Michelangelo had never seen a whale! So this was his interpretation.
We were a little early for St. Peter’s, so we went through the galleries and into the chapel one more time. Then we headed out into the square.
I wasn’t expecting to be wowed by St. Peter’s Basilica quite as much as I was. But it helped that the very first thing that I saw inside was the Pietà, which I didn’t even know was there. It was so unexpected that I actually got a little emotional, and of course, Jon was there to photograph it.
Once we got back to the hotel and got our boys back (thanks to Babci and Papa Vinnie for watching them… we couldn’t have done this otherwise!), we decided to meet up with everyone at Villa Borghese, Rome’s version of Central Park. Nick wanted to play on some games in a little arcade, and we found a playground!
That night, Jon and I got to celebrate our anniversary! We left the kids and took a cab to the Spanish Steps.
Then we walked around until we found a restaurant that looked good. And we picked a good one! We were eating so early (6:30!) that the rest of the restaurant was empty for over half of our meal. I had some amazing 4 cheese gnocchi and chicken alla Romana, a chicken leg/ thigh cooked in tomato sauce with peppers. Plus wine and some tiramisu for dessert. It was spot on!
While we were gone, Nick spent time with his cousins…and Aunt Nicky promised him that she would take him to a store to buy a present for his birthday. So we came home to our son and his gladiator costume!
As you can see, it was a jam-packed day. But here’s one more silly photo.