Well, if you have to do it. Don’t get me wrong – Vatican City is well worth a visit – if you’ve never been there before. St. Peter’s Basilica is magnificent. Michelangelo’s Pietà alone is is worth a look. It’s such a shame you have to look at it through glass while surrounded by people jostling you to get closer.
This brings me to the crowds. We waited in line about 45 minutes just to get into the Basilica. The main sights like the Pietà and Sistine Chapel were too crowded to appreciate properly.
After finally getting into the Basilica and ducking around the crowds to look around (the lower area where the popes are all buried is fairly interesting) we grabbed a mediocre lunch at a nearby café then walked over to the Vatican Museum to wait in line there.
In case you have the idea that you can walk in, see the Sistine Chapel and walk back out think again. A visit to the Vatican Museum is a walk through a labyrinth of art work while following signs pointing to the Sistine Chapel. Thankfully, there is a small café for a coffee break along the way.
Finally, you’re there with hundreds of other people.
It’s magnificent – of course it is. That’s exactly why hundreds of people are standing in the chapel with you either looking up in wonder or taking a break on the benches within.
Finally we escaped the City and made our way back to Rome proper for dinner. There are many reasons why Vatican City won’t be high on my list to visit if I’m lucky enough to return to Rome:
- Security line into Basilica
- Pietà behind glass and difficult to look at
- Mediocre restaurant options
- Line into Vatican Museum
- Crowds in the Sistine Chapel make it difficult to enjoy
Still, reality is if I’m with someone who has never seen it before I would not be able to tell them ‘no’. Such magnificent art is worth a bit of inconvenience plus I’ll be spending A LOT more time in the map room.
Feed the blogger: Have you visited Vatican City? What did you love? What (if anything) do you wish was different? Comments welcome.