Day 2: Today was dedicated to the Vatican. On Saturdays the Vatican offers a special tour and so on our Saturday, we signed up for this tour. We have tried hard to do each day a little different than the usual and customary tour of Rome. This one was different than my other visits.
We started out at the Vatican Museum when it opened. Most of us made a bee-line to the Sistine Chapel before the crowds. We almost had the place to ourselves. We sat back to enjoy the experience. The tour comes with a great audio guide that did a fabulous job of explaining the overwhelming ceiling of art. The tour schedule was very tight timewise. St Peters was not included in the itinerary. We could not leave the area without a visit to see the Pieta. We managed to sweet talk a guard into letting us go out a back door and into St. Peter’s and back into the Museum after our detour. The side trip was worth the effort. It was fun to watch the reaction of those of us that had never be in St Peter’s.
We spent the balance of the morning in an escorted tour of the Vatican Gardens that ended in a special train ride out to Vatican summer palace. The summer palace consisted of the Museum of the Apostolic Place of Central Gandolfo. It was full of portraits of Popes of the past. I loved the display of the past soldier’s uniforms. We also toured the Pope’s rooms in the palace, but there was no sign of the Pope.
We had a very Italian lunch in a very Italian restaurant. We chose to eat inside as it started to drizzle, even though the restaurant had the wonderful outside dinning. The dining room was two flights down to the original street level. There were parts of the ancient structure remaining as walls of the new room. I have never had a bad meal in Italy and lunch confirmed the premise.
The tour continued in a Disneyland type train ride through the vast gardens. The tour ended in a train ride back into Rome.