Rome Day 2 Part 2

Continued from Rome Day 2 Part 1.

Day 2 was a very long day in Rome. I just realized that I had enough pictures for part 3 later on.


I like the rainbow. It really ties the whole painting together.


Closeup of a mural.


Wear and tear.


Typical. Dicking around and not paying attention to their jobs.


Remember that unassuming building I showed at the beginning of Day 2 Part 1? That was the Sistine Chapel. Please note the no photos sign.


Yeah, I took some photos because as you can see, all the guards were not doing their jobs. It was so crowded in there that they couldn’t possibly enforce that policy very well. Rumor has it on why they won’t allow pictures is because some company owns the rights to all photos for the Sistine Chapel. Seems like a really odd reason because the Vatican is insanely rich and powerful, why would they have to play second fiddle to anyone else?

Now, the reason on why I took pictures of the double helix spiral exit staircase right when I walked into the museum. You go into the museum from the North side of the Vatican wall, and you exit next to the entrance. If you want to visit St. Peter’s square after that, you’ll have to not only walk all the way back through the entire length of the museum(Sistine chapel is the farthest from the exit and entrance), you’ll also have to walk all the way around the perimeter of the Vatican wall to the entrance of St. Peter’s square. Unfortunately, no pass throughs along the Vatican wall as it is a fortress and pass throughs tend to allow enemies to enter. This whole distance is probably a good 30-40 minute walk.

I read during my travel research that there was a semi secret exit that would exit from the Sistine Chapel directly to St. Peter’s Basilica! At the back of the Sistine Chapel, there’s a left exit that everyone goes through and it’s got a well noted exit sign. At the right side, there’s a very small obscure sign(no photo as I couldn’t take an obvious photo in Sistine Chapel) that says authorized personnel only with a door that’s disguised as part of the wall. In theory, you can’t come through this unmarked exit, but as you know, the guards do not do their jobs. Those in the know can just open through this door, which leads you to the stairs shown in the next photo.


I was so excited that the plan worked that I took a blurry photo.


BAM!! Down those stairs and you exit the side of the Sistine Chapel. That’s St. Peter’s Basilica on the right side!!! Saved myself a 40 minute walk in the hot sun.

Why they don’t allow everyone to go through this shortcut exit, I do not know. Perhaps they want to make everyone exit through the gift shops at the regular exit.


St. Peter’s Square.


First thing I wanted to do is visit the Cupola, the dome of the Basilica. I decided to take the elevator and then walk the 320 steps to the top. You can also save 2 Euros and walk 551 steps instead. Screw that!


Elevator line. Still shorter wait than the cafeteria line earlier.


Starting the climb.


Looking into the Basilica from the concentric dome.


I just realized the whole interior of the Basilica is covered with mosaics!! Really impressed by this.


All those are Mosaics! I wonder how often little pieces fall off and hit people on the head.


Up and up we go.


Small steps.


They keep on getting smaller.


The photo is not slanted. You have to walk with a sideways lean because we are in the dome now.


And the steps get even smaller.


Glorious! This view was actually the number one thing for me to see in Rome. I’ve been seeing this picture throughout my whole life and have always wanted to see it with my own eyes. No panorama as I had messed up one of the photo and I couldn’t merge it well. Oh well.


I could be wrong, but I almost think the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica is off centered. Look in the picture above and you’ll see how the dome doesn’t quite line up with the rest of the structure. Odd.


Here’s the Sistine Chapel again taken from the Cupola.


Look at all those people seeking shelter from the sun in the shadow of the obelisk.


Gardens of the Vatican.


Another view of the Vatican that you don’t see everyday.


Ahhh, don’t you love the guards in Italy? Chilling out and playing with their cell phones.


These numbers were all around the dome. No idea what they were for.


Time to go down with the smallest steps of them all. Look, my feet can’t even fit on them. I think about a quarter of Americans will have a really tough time fitting through some of these tight spaces.


Stunning. After climbing down all those steps, I exited into the interior of the Basilica.


Biggest interior of any church in the world. Look at the size of the people against the pillars. We are like ants in this building. Funny, the world’s biggest church with the world’s smallest steps to the Cupola.


I randomly walked onto this manhole(if you can call it that). There’s a whole tunnel network beneath me. Then there are also the tombs that are under the Basilica, but I didn’t have time to check that out.


Crepuscular rays. Awesome!


A photo taken head on into one of the crepuscular rays. I thought this one deserved a little bit of artist merit.


Pieta! Here’s the real deal and you can’t go within 20 feet of it and it’s also behind plated glass. Yet, there were a billion people taking photos of it(me being one) while ignoring the replica at the Vatican Museum which you can actually see up close. I also noticed that the Mother is a giant compared to Jesus.


There’s so much foot traffic the hardness of the stones shows in the different wear patterns.


St. Peter’s Square again. They were setting up for some sort of event here.


Swiss Guard. These actually used to be real guards that would fight off the attackers of the Vatican. Questionable fashion sense though.


You see that castle looking wall?


This is an elevated fortified walkway that leads from the Vatican to Castel Sant’Angelo, an ex mausoleum, ex fortress and today museum. Anyhow, this walkway was designed and actually used for the pope to escape the Vatican and go into Castel Sant’Angelo(fortress stage) to hide from attackers.


Vatican post office. It’s actually a different postal system than the one used in Rome. Apparently, the Vatican postal service is very good while the Italian postal service is horrible.


Got myself some Vatican stamps.


It’s a fortress, I tell ya.


Street cleaner.


Rocco.


Chuck Taylor boots.

When I got on the subway, I struck up a conversation with a girl who was also traveling alone. Well, she was not supposed to travel alone. She came to Rome with a tour group of 50 from Seattle. She elected to skip out on the morning activities and was going to meet them at the Vatican Museums so they could give her her prepaid ticket and whatnot. Well, she waited for 2 hours and they never met up, so she was out of luck on seeing the museum. I would have just paid again on my own and saw it, but whatever floats her boat. Sucks for her though to come halfway across the world into Rome and not see the Sistine Chapel.


Hmm, another fortress looking thing. This is on the other side of town.


Basilica of St. John Lateran. This, believe it or not is the actual mother church of the Catholics. It’s not St. Peter’s as one would imagine since it’s the biggest, baddest and right in the middle of Vatican.

Update: There was a major riot clash in front of Basilica of St. John Lateran over the bad economy 2 weeks after I left Rome. Just missed the riots.


Very few people were here and I can understand why. Why come here when St. Peter’s is so much bigger and better.


Gave me a good chuckle. Will she fall if I pried her fingers off of her hold?


Just missed the subway. Doh.


Long escalator ride back to the surface.


I caught these two people sucking face…for the entire duration of the long escalator ride. Seriously, get a room.


The lady who stood behind the kissing couple looked at them with disgust and disdain. Then she saw me trying to take a picture of her looking on with disgust and disdain, so she turned her attention to me and looked at me with disgust and disdain.

To be continued at Rome Day 2 Part 3.

 

 

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