Roaming Around Rome
This was such a fun day! And busy. We got to see the Vatican, St. Peter's Basilica, the Spanish Steps, Fontana della Barcaccia, Piazza Navona, the Colosseum, and more! And we went to a local ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints as well.
The view from the top of St. Peter's Basilica
The trick to getting in the Vatican Museums/St. Peter's Basilica anytime in May-September (aka high-tourist season) is to not go in the middle of the day. Either wake up early and get in line an hour or so before opening (which is 9 am for the Vatican Museums) or around 3:30 pm, just before the ticket office closes at 4 pm. (Note: the Museums close at 6 and you must exit the rooms 30 minutes prior to closing.)
If you're feeling super ambitious, the Basilica opens earlier and you can go to that first. But if you have two mornings available, I suggest splitting it up so you don't feel rushed. Vatican museums one morning, Basilica the other.
In my opinion, the earlier option is definitely better. Draw straws, vote, do whatever you need to so that at least one member of your group is there an hour before the museum opens. This way, you are first in, you skip the line, and it's nice and cool while you wait. If you go any later, you will be sweltering.
Another note, on the last Sunday of every month, free entrance from 9 am to 12.30 pm. Personally, I would avoid this day altogether due to the masses of people but if it must be that day for your trip, I say: get up early and good luck! For more info, you can check out the official website of the Vatican Museum here.
The view of the inside of the main dome of St. Peter's Basilica
The view of St. Peter's Basilica from within the dome
On the roof of of St. Peter's Basilica.
Laura, Dian, Tom & Me in St. Peter's Square just outside the Basilic
This is the kind of line you'll avoid by going early to the Vatican!
Here's a list of LDS chapels in Rome:
1. Roma 1st Ward*
via Bra 34
Rome, Italy 00166
2. Roma 6th Ward
Piazza Carnaro 20
Rome, Italy 00141
3. Roma 3rd Ward
Via Delle Alzavole 45
Rome, Italy 00169
*This chapel is closest to the Vatican and it's the one we attended. Fortunately for English-speakers, there is a plethora of translators (capable humans) as well as translators (helpful devices w/earphones).
For more information such as directions and meeting times, check out the LDS Meetinghouse Locator here.
After church, we changed and headed to the Spanish Steps! One nice thing about Rome is that all of the fountains spew pure, totally drinkable water. So one tip I learned quickly is: Save money by having a water bottle that you can fill up at local fountains. And avoid getting drinks at restaurants! Don't be obvious/rude by setting your bottle at the table. You'll offend the owner(s) and it's not very polite. So graciously decline drinks if you want to save money and remember, if you do order drinks, refills at restaurants are not free!
Here's me, filling up on H2O
My favorite gelateria (ice cream parlor) in Rome is hands down, Menodiciotto. It's located just below the Spanish steps at 74 Via delle Carrozze.
Look at this amazing array of delicious, divine gelato!!!
In Piazza di Spagna
Here in Piazza Navona, there are amazingly talented artists. We watched as this artist did a very realistic sketch in less than 20 minutes with just a tiny pencil.
The teeny cars are so cute it kills me.
My advice for finding restaurants is: Don't eat right next to a big, touristy attraction. Even walking 2 minutes or a few alleys away can make a big difference. In my experience, those restaurants are never very good. This pizza is from a delicious place we discovered between the Pantheon and Trevi Fountain. Buon Apetito!
Artichoke pizza is one of my favorites.
The Arch of Constantine, just outside the Colosseum.
After eating that delicious pizza, we made our way via bus to the Colosseum! The word comes from the Latin, colossēus meaning gigantic. Not only it is the largest amphitheatre ever built but it is also considered one of the greatest works of architecture, according to Wikipedia. I've been inside on one trip and I've skipped that in others. I found it very interesting but if I had to pick between seeing the inside of the Colosseum and say, skipping Trevi fountain or another site? I'd definitely skip the inside tour. Although it is cool, in my opinion, the outside is the most impressive view of the amphitheater.
Well that's all for today! Tomorrow, it's off to Venezia, City of Canals!