Spent the first half of the day at Musei Vaticani, the Vatican Museums. All up we walked 7 km through the museums…there was so much to take in! Some highlights were the beautiful Cortile della Pigna (Courtyard of the Pine), the Galleria delle Carte Geografiche (Gallery of maps), rooms painted by Raffaello and of course Michelangelo’s beautiful ceiling in the Sistine Chapel. The only disappointment was the amount of people crammed into the different rooms (and some bumping into artifacts from the 2nd century BC…), but after going through it all I can see why it is such a popular tourist destination.
Our feet were already sore at this point, so we stopped for lunch and rested a while before heading to the Colosseum. This was one of my favorite things in Rome (actually everything is my favorite!). The sheer size of it it impressive, you can imagine the crowd of Romans roaring and cheering as the gladiators fought for their lives in the arena below. An interesting fact I learned is that the seating is according to class – the Emperor and senators getting front row seats (just as well, it’s a lot of work getting to the top with all those stairs!). Senators’ seats were inscribed with their names, and were passed on to a new senator upon their death.
We also visited the Palatine archaeological sight…again, I couldn’t believe how big the place was! We didn’t get through it all. Unfortunately there weren’t many explanatory signs, so I often didn’t know what I was looking at, but it was fascinating all the same. We will be in Rome again for 2 days, so I think we will have to revisit the Palatine! Off to southern Italy for a few days.
(Below) the beautiful Cortile della Pigna (Court of the Pine) at Musei Vaticani.
(Below) Galleria delle Carte Geografiche (Gallery of Maps) at Musei Vaticani
(Below) View from the arena at the Colosseum