On our third day in Rome (part 1 and part 2 here) the plan was to go on a day trip to either Naples or Tivoli but the skies opened up from the night before and it rained all night through to the next morning. It rained A LOT the whole morning and there was a hailstorm followed by more heavy rain. We went to the train station but some trains were cancelled so we decided it would be wiser to stay in Rome. We were already exhausted by that time and a more relaxed day would be great since we were heading to the Vatican the following day (the museums are closed on Sundays, except the last Sunday of the month when is free to get in!).
None of us had any umbrellas and the illegal sellers outside the station were selling them for a tenner each!! But luckily we found some in a store nearby.
After a quick snack at the station we went to the National Museum of Oriental Art, which had a lot of exhibits considering its size and then to Palazzo delle Espozioni to check out their Hollywood Icons exhibition with photographs from the John Kobal foundation. The building is impressive, to say the least, and the exhibition was great, although sister number two decided to touch one of the photos and alarms went off! Needless to say she was told off (hover on photos for captions).
By that time we were starving so we went for dinner at a nearby restaurant, another delicious meal, and then we stopped by Mercato Centrale, a large food court next to the station, for pudding on our way to the hotel.
On day four, after our breakfast, we went to the Vatican Museums. It’s super easy to get there from Roma Termini, it’s only a 15-20 min tube ride. If you decide to go, use the self-service dispensers, not the counters, you need to get a ticket to join the queue and wait for a long time! You don’t need to know Italian to use the dispensers, you just get a ticket which is valid for 90 minutes or a day.
It was raining again but we didn’t mind much as we were to spend most of the day in the museums. I tried to book tickets online the night before from their official website but they were sold out for that day, so we decided to check how long the queues were and hoped they ‘d be tourist guides around, like at the Colosseum and pay a bit more to skip the queues.
And that’s what happened. We got our vouchers from a tourist guide and after collecting our tickets from the cashier at the museum entrance, about half an hour later, we were in. I was in awe the whole time! The architecture, the exhibits (including a mummy!!), everything! We spent around 3 hours, with a break for a snack at their canteen there (where we met the rudest waiter ever!) and the last thing to see was what I looked forward to since we got there, Capela Sistina, the Sistine Chapel.
I still remember the first time I learned about it at school, many many years ago, staring and admiring at the pictures and I always wanted to see it with my own eyes. And it finally happened. And it did not disappoint. You are not allowed to take any photos once you are in the chapel but I noticed I stood just below the infamous Creation of Adam, so I sneakily took a snap.
After we left the museums we headed to St Peter’s basilica. But there were long queues and we didn’t pay extra to get in (it is free to go into the basilica, but if you pay extra when you get your Vatican museums’ tickets you can skip the queues for the basilica too).
It was still amazing to be standing at St Peter’s square and admire the views.
After a short stop for a drink (worst cup of tea I ever had!) we went back to Mercato Centrale for dinner and then headed back to the hotel to rest and pack as we were leaving the following day.
Our last day was one of my favourite of the whole trip! We had no idea what to do. So after we checked out of the hotel we passed by Quattro Fontane, Piazza della Repubblica, went by to see the Fontana di Trevi and the Pantheon one last time and we ended up at Piazza Navona where we had our last delicious pizza in Rome.
We popped in the Angelica Library, which I wanted to from day one but we didn’t get the chance earlier
we had the best ice cream we ever tasted in our whole life (details on the food blog coming next!), we loved the Pinocchio dedicated store, Bartolucci
we bumped into Cremonini Area Archeologica, an underground archaeological site near the Trevi hidden on a quiet side street where we met the friendliest sales assistant
and after picking our bags from the hotel (you can leave them at the station too but it costs a tenner for the whole day, if you google it you can find others for cheaper) we headed to the airport.
My flight had three and a half hour delay due to the French air strike so after I waved my sisters goodbye, sad and exhausted I caught the plane back to the UK.
And that was the end of our amazing week in Florence and Rome.
It’s been five days since I’ve been back in the UK and it already feels like a dream. I’m sad is over but so happy for the amazing memories, places and experiences shared with my best friends, my sisters. I already started planning my next adventure!
Next blog on our Italian food experience.