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Old 06-18-2014, 05:07 PM   #1
pihanettie
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Day 3 - Italy Trip Report 6/8-16

We met in the lobby to make the easy walk to Vatican City. You literally cross the street into the parking lot where there is a tunnel under the overlying city streets and at the end of the tunnel you emerge in St. Peterís square. Before we left we were handed some postcards to fill out. The guides were going to mail them for us from Vatican City to get those unique momentos. We havenít received ours yet.

There was already a line for group entries. We were one of a few groups that get to go in about an hour before the general admission opens. Stephano was a great source of information and the radios worked well enough that we left the group to go exploring the cathedral on our own yet still be listening to the group experience and know where the group was at all times (the adventure guides still had their eyes on us though). We did not go the top of the basilica or to the underground. After the tour we went outside for pictures and saw the Swiss guards. We then spent about half an hour in the Vatican gift shop, where everything is apparently been blessed by the pope.


Nothing in St. Peter's is painted - it is all mosaic, which is unbelievable.

We walked to Castel SaníAngelo for our next tour. Went all the way to the top for a nice view and photographs (I was told we donít go to the top of the basilica but this was a substitute). We were done around 1 p.m. and could then leave the group and go have lunch on your own or shop but that we were to meet at 6:30 p.m. for our private tour of the Sistine Chapel from 7-9 p.m. Most people opted to go to the hotel for a light lunch and swim. We also had to eat an early dinner.


Inside the castle


View of St. Peter's from the castle


Our guide, Stephano

We were told that we could not take pictures in the Sistine Chapel but I knew from this website that we still might, so I brought my camera anyway. We had the entire Vatican museum to ourselves and spent almost an hour in the Sistine Chapel. The guard said we could take pictures but without the flash and then he left the room. Stephano talked the entire time, pointing out everything in the room. Even though it was late evening there was still enough light for picture taking without the flash. I find this a small miracle as I took pictures during full daylight hours later in the tour of the Dogeís Palace and Palazzo Vecchio and those pictures are completely black. How these pictures turned out from 8 pm is unknown to me.
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Old 06-18-2014, 06:19 PM   #2
pihanettie
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Actually, just received the postcard today.
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Old 06-18-2014, 07:43 PM   #3
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Pihanettie I love your review(s). It is amazing the mosaic works in St. Peters. We had a private after hours tour years ago and we did get to take pictures and video also. Rome is a great city to walk and explore on your own. With the 90+ degree days I can understand why people chose to swim.
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Old 06-18-2014, 08:17 PM   #4
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Wow! That picture of St. Peter's basilica from the castle is amazing! That's the best view I've seen of it! You really miss a lot just looking at it from ground level!

Did you get any pictures actually in the Sistine Chapel? I'm very jealous!

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Old 06-18-2014, 08:59 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sayhello View Post
Wow! That picture of St. Peter's basilica from the castle is amazing! That's the best view I've seen of it! You really miss a lot just looking at it from ground level!

Did you get any pictures actually in the Sistine Chapel? I'm very jealous!

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Old 06-18-2014, 09:13 PM   #6
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Cool!

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Old 06-21-2014, 08:28 PM   #7
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Taking the private Vatican/Sistine Chapel tour is a bucket list item for me.. I went to the Sistine Chapel in the dead of winter (everything in Italy was slow and uncrowned) yet the Chapel was PACKED! Very cool!
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