A Day in the Vatican

11 May 2015 Vatican City

Spending a day in the vatican city

The Vatican City. A place people visit in the hopes of getting a glimpse of the Pope, a country within another country, a place guarded by the best (but friendly!) of swiss guards dressed in the oddest attire. Most importantly, the place with the most beautiful church.
There was no reason to skip out on The Vatican City especially since it was my FIRST time in Rome and Italy.

During our 25-day long winter trip last winter, the final stop for Jerald and I was Rome, and as expected, we carved out a day to visit the famous Vatican City.
I've always known that the Vatican was famous for its art and the cathedral, but more so for being super crowded. Fortunately, as it was winter, Italy was generally less populated than it would be in the summer.
In order to avoid the long queuing and taking into account the various opening hours, we decided to hit up the Vatican Museum first.

swiss guards in the vatican
columns around the vatican
Vatican City Church

I cannot begin to explain how MASSIVE the museum is. From sculptures to tapestry, art, ceramics, mummies, everything, it was there. I have always though the V&A was incredibly huge, but the Vatican Museums are so overwhelming, I felt like I was in a maze and merely following the signs as to where to head next. To be honest there was just too much information for me to absorb everything in one day. Nevertheless, it provided a nice glimpse into the history and culture of the Vatican.
Not to mention, the interior is just spectacular. Extremely detailed, lots of gold plating, incredible.

sculptures in the vatican museum
interior decoration of the vatican museum

After a couple of hours in the Museum, we realised that we were spending way too much time there, and had to make it to the church, and dome (we were intending to find a remake of a photo we saw online of the vatican domes) before sun down, so we headed out to the main area and queued to get into the church - it was free!

roman columns of the vatican city
outfit whilst visiting the vatican
outfit while visiting the vatican

Shirt: H&M
Boots: Timberland
Gloves: H&M
Jeggings/Jeans: Prim ark
Coat: Coldwear.sg
(P.S. If you've been following my winter trip, you'll probably have realised i've worn this coat to death! But i'm not anymore, because SPRING HAS SPRUNG in London, and I cannot be happier. I've missed the sun so so much! Even though the weather still gets a little cray occasionally, well, its the UK.)

the vatican city
spending  a day in the vatican
view of the centre of the vatican city
architecture of the walls of the vatican

The good thing about traveling with another person is that he/she can queue while you go round taking pictures. In this case, its always Jerald queuing and by the time we are suppose to "swap over" he would already be near the front of the line (oops!).
This is definitely one little thing that I used to overlook, but have now come to appreciate after several solo-travel trips!

Anyway, after queuing for about 20 minutes or so, we entered the church and man, was it incredible. Honestly, ROME HAS THE BEST CHURCHES. But the one in the Vatican: WOW.
There are no words to describe how HUGE and gorgeous it is. I feel every time I stepped in to a church (during our winter trip), it was one up from the previous, and since the church in the Vatican was the last of the whole lot, it definitely means something - I have yet to visit another church and be blown away ever since that day.

Church in the Vatican
The vatican city church
dome of the vatican

Honestly, I don't think my picture does it any justice. Writing it now, I have vivid pictorial memories of the place. These pictures were just ONE part of the church. Can you sense how i'm trying so desperately to convey how impressive it was with all the capitals going on?

The Sistine Chapel was another place that we visited, however it was SO crowded - unlike the other areas of the vatican - and photos weren't allowed. But trust me, the details and the artwork on the walls, the ceilings, basically everywhere in the sistine chapel, was VERY impressive.

Eventually, we manage to make it up to the dome (with a bit of running and panting - I remember nearly fainting because I sprained my ankles and I was having a fever that day) before the closing time. We were one of the last few people who made it before they stopped selling tickets up to the dome.

sunset with the vatican dome
Aerial view of rome from the vatican
aerial view of the vatican

Despite the heaving, climbing, the lack of breath, and the awkward slanted walking positions because the walls of the dome was curved, the view when we stepped out was perfect and we were treated to an amazing sunset. We manage to get a nice aerial view of the Vatican, some parts of Rome, and got to watch the sun slowly creep beneath the horizon.

sunset over the vatican
watching the sun set in the vatican
sunset in italy vatican city

sunset behind the vatican dome
Vatican domes by night

The sky was so colourful with its pinks, orange and purples. Every time I witness a beautiful sunset, i get a warm fuzzy feeling inside, and just think to myself "the world is such an incredible place, God did a wonderful job creating it!"
As expected, we were one of the last few to leave the top. We stayed as long as we could, and by along as we could, I mean until the security started chasing us down. With a sunset like this, who would want to leave?
By the time we got down from the roof (my sprained ankle meant it took a while), the sky was dark and the Vatican was lit up in warm yellow and orange lights.

sculpture at the vatican city
vatican city by night
the vatican city night lights

We arrived at the Vatican City early in the morning, and spent probably more than 10 hours in the area before heading back. Some have said that The Vatican City is underwhelming and too damn crowded, but lucky for us, there were lesser tourists in the winter, which meant that the lines are shorter and we could visit the church, the museums and the dome (with a bit of rushing around) all in that same day.

To be honest, we were not expecting to be able to see it all as we thought the lines would take forever, so our main aim was to catch the sunset over the domes of the vatican - a little unusual, but you have to agree that it does result in beautiful sunset photos - but i'm so glad time was kind to us that day.
Plus, its not everyday in winter that you get to witness a nice colourful sunset, so that was an added bonus! In spite of my sprained ankle, fever, and short of breath, it was all worth it.

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