We Live To Travel

St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museum

Today we visited St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museum. We went to the Basilica first. Steve and I were wondering what the difference was between a cathedral and a basilica… you know the “The Google” has all the answers, so we just looked it up. A cathedral is the principal church of a diocese, and a basilica is a church that has special privileges granted by the pope. I suppose since it is his home church it should be granted the title of a basilica 🙂

When you approach St. Peter’s Square and the Basilica it looks like this…


This is the only place I didn’t have any tips on how to skip the line, other than buying an expensive tour… so we stood in line for a long time… maybe an hour? It seems like a long time to get into a church… I mean basilica… doesn’t it? Trust me, it’s worth it 🙂 If you know an inexpensive way to avoid the line please let me know, I’m sure Steve and I will be back to Rome again!

While we were waiting in the very long line up, a group of people cut into the line behind us (there were hundreds of people they cut in front of) and then tried to push in front of me. Now, normally, I’m pretty lax and don’t care about that… but I think an hour in the hot sun made me a little less Canadian about it. First I gave the ringleader my dirtiest teacher look several times. She of course looked everywhere but at me… so I had to resort to blocking them out with my arms. Oddly, I feel guilty about it… and a little bit triumphant 😉

The first thing we saw, which Jessica thought was quite funny, were the Swiss Guards. They are very seriously guarding the Vatican in all their costumed glory!


When you finally get inside, you forget all about your line troubles. It is absolutely beautiful in this Basilica. There are so many things to look at!

I particularly liked the ceilings (and the dead popes… I know I’m morbid… but it was quite fascinating)!

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One last look at the ceiling before we head out. Check out how big the door is!


Next, we headed out to find the restaurant that had the best pasta I have ever had. We discovered it on our last trip to Rome, and came twice that time. It is between St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museum, so today was the perfect day to try it again. I’m pretty sure we found the right restaurant, but I have to say that it wasn’t as good as last time (it was still good though 😉 ). Did it get worse, or have I just had so much pasta that I’m more picky now?!?

After lunch, we headed to the Vatican Museum. We nearly didn’t make it, because somehow it had suddenly become 3:45. They let the last people in at 4:00, and you have to be out by 6:00. The benefit of coming this late is that there was absolutely no line to get in 🙂

We saw as much as we could see in 2 hours, but honestly you could spend days in there and not run out of things to look at. The building as well as the art are incredibly beautiful.

We loved the statues…


… and the views out the windows (the fresh breeze was also a bonus!)


We loved the beautiful courtyards…


… and the Ancient Egyptians collection (more dead bodies, I know!)


The things I loved the most though, were the frescoes and the art on the ceiling!

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One more thing I wanted to mention before signing off was the hundreds of paintings of Mary you find on the outside of buildings around Rome. They were put there hundreds of years ago to help lower the crime rate. Apparently, it worked! Criminals were less likely to be naughty if they thought “The Madonna” was watching them!

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2 thoughts on “St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museum

  1. Teri Wickes

    I have visited the Basilica twice now and I find it so moving. There is so much to see that it can’t be taken in on one or two visits. The museum as you say can take days to see thoroughly. You didn’t mention the Sistine Chapel in your message. Did you like it? It was extremely crowded both times I visited but Michelangelo did a stunning job there!!!! I’m sure I’ll visit both the Basilica and museum at the Vatican again.

  2. admin Post author

    We did make it to the Sistine Chapel. I’m a bit hesitant to talk about it too much, as it almost seems underwhelming because you see it at the end of seeing the very opulent Vatican Museum. We could barely move in the Sistine Chapel. It was packed to the gills with people and the guards were constantly trying to shuffle people out of the way. I suspect it isn’t the optimal situation to admire Michelangelo’s work! I think we will definitely be back to Rome. I’d like to spend two weeks just wandering the streets instead of seeing the sites!

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