On our third day in Rome, we had a tour of the Vatican, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter's Basilica. Again, it was way too hot to even wear makeup and I had to wear jeans and a t-shirt because women aren't allowed to show their knees or shoulders inside the Sistine Chapel. People start lining up early and the lines get really long, but if you have a ticket beforehand you can just go in. Our tour guide walked us through the Vatican and out into a beautiful courtyard where they this huge sculpture called "Srefa con Srefa" or "The Sphere within a Sphere", which is part of a series of bronze sculptures placed in various cities around the world. There were also photos of all of the paintings inside the Sistine Chapel so you could learn about them before you went in because you also aren't allowed to speak in there.
The Chapel is actually a lot smaller than I thought it would be and everyone kind of crams into the center and stands there in silence to sort of just take everything in. If you do speak, there are guards in the front to tell you to "shhhh". It was very surreal to see it though, it's one of those things that you learn about in school but never expect to actually see. The paintings are really extraordinary and you would need all day to take in all of the details. After that, we walked over to St. Peter's Basilica, which is one of the largest churches in the world. Although there are a ton of tourists inside, it still acts as a legitimate church where the locals can go to pray. We spent a good hour walking around while our tour guide told us about all of the different statues and such.
When you leave the church, you go out into this huge courtyard called St. Peter's Square, which has a giant Egyptian obelisk in the center as well as a large fountain. While we were waiting for the bus, there were a bunch of older ladies dressed in all black (apparently gypsies) trying to collect money, which was interesting because the whole time I was there, everyone kept going on about how there are pickpockets everywhere and people that try to distract you with small children while they rob you, and this was the first I saw of that. It's slightly creepy how they just sort of come up behind you without saying anything and shove a dish in your face. Anyway, we went back to the hotel after that and decided to rest for a bit and get room service for lunch (see photo of more pizza at the end).
Then we ventured off to the Spanish Steps, where's theres a square called Piazza di Spagna, which has restaurants and really good shopping. We had pasta for dinner and of course gelato, and just walked around and looked in some shops for a while. The sun was starting to go down so the weather got a lot nicer and it was so lovely to explore all of the little side streets. In better weather, you could honestly just walk around for hours turning down random streets and finding new things. Eventually everything started closing so we went back to the hotel and called it a night.
Fourth and final day coming soon!