Each day my grandmother rotated between putting my sister and I in charge for the day. Day two was my turn to be in charge and we had to hail a taxi to take us to the meeting point for our tour of the Vatican at 8:30a. (Notice how I have dropped the m in am. This seemed like the European thing to do).
That morning I put on my Red Roman Dress and practiced my Italian to speak to the driver of the hailed taxi. I even wrote out the so called conversation in my iPhone notes in case I became flustered. I am so type A personality and not at all go-with-the-flow.
Continental breakfasts in Italy are fabulous. Mainly because they consist of fresh cheeses, pastries, fabulous juices, capicola and my grandma was so pleased to find prune pie like my Italian Great-Grandpa Seese used to bake. Oh, and how could I forget that espresso. I had two that morning.
We found the cab after breakfast.
Ciao, vorrei andare a calle vaticano. (I really did make note of that just in case).
We arrived outside of the cutest cafe and I failed as a director for the day because we waited there at the cafe instead of heading down the steps to check in for our tour.
I finally figured it out and we checked in for our City Wonders Tour of The Vatican. I had heard that you were not allowed to show shoulders or wear shorts inside the high holy places of The Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica so I wore a dress. However,while we were in line I learned that the exposure of my thigh two inches above my knee made my dress too inappropriate for the high holy places. I had to buy a scarf. And I felt shame. The pastor’s wife dressed inappropriately for the high holy places.
(When I called my husband later he said he was not surprised.)
The tour of The Vatican was lovely. This is a place you could see a million times and still discover something new with each visit. There is so much to see.
Our favorite, I believe were two things.
First, hearing that there was an advisor to The Pope at the time of Michelangelo’s painting of the ceiling of The Sistine Chapel who had complained to Michelangelo about his frescoes.
The next day this big wig advisor found himself painted in “The Last Judgment” in hell with a snake around his unmentionable places.
We also found it interesting once you enter the Sistine Chapel it is made very clear you are to bare no shoulders or thighs, take no photos and be silent.
We took this seriously. I wore a mismatched scarf around my legs for heaven sakes. BUT everyone else was snapping photos of the frecoes and chatting about them anyway. every few minutes the guards would come on the microphone and say…
“SILENCE (because all the people talking were silly Americans), SILENCIO.”
Also, the guards are very strict about congregating near and exit or main entrance. This is forbidden and you will be strictly shooed and also mean mugged.
After The Vatican Tour I headed to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica which costs an extra ten euros but so worth it. Also pay the extra for the elevator when you go. The close to three hundred stairs are exhausting after a three hour tour. (Gosh, I feel like the theme song from Gilligan’s Island.)
We took a taxi to our next spot. We were meeting a City Wonders tour outside of the Colosseum for another three hour tour of Ancient Rome after lunch.
We ate lunch at a spot called Squist Cook, right outside the Colosseum with great views, good food and fun service. I had the most delicious calzone there and I was given my first free shot in maybe a decade. No one ever gives me free anything and I haven’t taken a shot since my twenty first birthday. This was absolutely a “When in Rome” moment.
We went on another three hour tour of Ancient Rome after lunch. It was hot. And we were tired. I also fell down the steps in front of the Colosseum. (Maybe it was that shot but also I was walking and searching for my Chapstick in my purse and anyone who knows me knows I am not the kind of person who should try to conquer a gross motor and a fine motor skill at the same time.)
So I had bruises. And another shameful moment for the day. My day in charge wasn’t panning out as I had hoped. (Inappropriately dressed, public intoxication, ect.)
The tour of the Roman ruins was a tad boring BUT the Colosseum part was spectacular. It is amazing to be in the Colosseum. So much history and thinking about all the life stories that have walked through the arenas of the Colosseum just makes you feel small, which is a good thing.
We had dinner at the Squisit Cook again and received more free shots. And good food. Then we hailed a cab home, found some desserts, wine and gelato and curled up in our jammies in front of “Under The Tuscan Sun” to prepare for our adventure to Florence the next day.
This was such a fun day. As women we had so much fun laughing, seeing, eating and drinking. However if I went again I would not do these tours in the same day. We were laughing together but also hurting. So much walking.
Don’t forget to check back for my favorite, Florence.