A July 2000 trip
to Vatican City by Europe_lover
Quote: Even if you aren't Catholic, visiting Vatican City can be a spiritual experience. The Vatican Museum might be the best museum in all of Europe and the grandeur of San Pietro is overwhelming. It is a must see and plan on spending 8 hours there.
San Pietro is incredible. Michelangelo's Pieta (behind bullet-proof glass), Bernini's seven-story high altar, Michelangelo's dome and the view from the roof.
San Pietro's piazza is a deserving front to this massive church. The Collumnade that aligns perfectly at two different spots and the Obelisque from Egypt is huge, but overshadowed compared to the immensity of the city.
San Pietro is free, but requires shoulders AND knees to be covered. Pack accordingly. I recommend putting a long skirt or pants in a day bag to change into, especially in the hot summer!
Hotel | "Pensione Ottaviano"
We stayed at the Pensione Ottaviano about 10 blocks from Vatican City (Linea B:Ottaviano). For $15 a night in a dorm setting it was fine. No meals are served and they provide a lockbox for anything valuable. Although, why you wouldn't keep all your valuables in your moneybelt is beyond me.
Overall a nice place with travelers from all over so you will have a chance to experience some other cultures while being absorbed by Italian culture.
Another great hostel in Rome is the Beehive. It isn't near Vatican City, however. You can check out their accommodations at www.the-beehive.com.
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 16, 2000
Oak N' Spruce
190 Meadow Street
Lee, Massachusetts 01238
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on September 19, 2000
Attraction | "Vatican Museum"
This is probably the most incredible museum I've ever seen. It is filled with everything from Egyptian artifacts to Rennaissance art. It has a very simple one-way system to move the thousands of daily visitors through in an organized manner. Most people visit to see the Sistine Chapel, but to rush to it would be a HUGE mistake! The quickest option would be a minimum of 2 hours. My wife and I spent 4 hours and we felt we moved rather quickly. This museum is too immense to try on your own. You will need a guidebook because what you can obtain at the museum is lacking in background information. I am a huge fan of Rick Steves, and his book 'Mona Winks' was fabulous for walking us through this massive museum. You can rent a CD-Rom wand for 8,000L
Some famous works are Hammurabi's Code, sculptures of Laocoon and Apollo Belvedere. Also the Belvedere Torso is on display. Michelangelo considered it his master and teacher. Raphael's School of Athens is on display (my personal favorite!). A hall of tapestries which are incredibly moving is prior to the Sistine Chapel and often overlooked. The Sistine Chapel cannot be summed up in words. Definitely worth the hype!
The Vatican Post is right before the exit, but can be accessed when you enter. It is much quicker than Italian post.
At the rear of the Sistine Chapel is a quick way to get to San Pietro. You have to act like you're with a tour group, but saves you some time. I don't know what you miss, but after the Sistine Chapel, you will probably be 'arted' out.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 13, 2000
Rome, Italy 00165
0039 06 69884676
Attraction | "San Pietro Basilica"
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on September 19, 2000
St. Peter's Basilica
Piazza San Pietro
Vatican City, Rome 00193
The Jubilee door on San Pietro is open and you can walk through it. It will be closed at the end of the year and will stay that way for another 25 years.
Even with all the pilgrims trying to see the Pope, who shortened his traditional summer-long vacation to give mass and entertain pilgrims, Vatican City has done a marvelous job moving people around. It will be crowded, but not overly crowded, and nothing unusual compared to some of the other sights in Rome.
If you aren't interested in seeing the Pope, ask at any of the TIs for information on when he will be appearing and plan around his appearances. If you have a chance, go to Vatican City in 2000 before the volunteers go home and the fabulous art is hidden by scaffolding.