OK, so even though I'm back in the US - I'm going to finish blogging about our time in Italy just to get it all down. I hope you will all humor me!
Our 4th day in Rome and our final day in Rome before heading off to Venice we woke up early and headed back to Vatican City. As you remember we hadn't been able to get to the Vatican Museum before it closed at 1:45 (???? does this seem early to anyone else!) We got in line about 1 hour and 15 minutes before it opened and of course this was the coldest of all the mornings in Italy! We entertained ourselves playing Guess Who and watching all the people walking up to the line shocked by how long it was:) We ended up getting into the museum around 9:30ish about 30 minutes after it opened.
It is an overwhelming museum - it's so large! Thankfully it's a very easy lay out, start at the beginning and just follow the rooms until they empty out into the Sistine Chapel. The only thing about that is that you really have to be in the mood to see "everything" because you're going to whether you want to our not. We started at the beginning with the Eygyptians and Etruscans and worked our way slowly through history.
We saw Raphael's rooms (which were beautiful), the Map Room (possibly Jon's favorite place in Italy!), among other amazing art! Then we emptied into the room that we were there to see - The Sistine Chapel. You know what I found most amazing - the amount of visitors that just blantantly ignore the guards that are there. They are continually repeating - No Pictures and No Talking and people just act as if they're completely deaf!!! The Sistine Chapel is something - we spent a good 20 minutes in there just staring up and all around us. It's sad when you leave a place like that - I kept sneaking one more look back, because I mean who knows if we'll ever really be back, how do you preserve that memory in your head forever.
We spent about 2 1/2 - 3 hours in the Vatican Museum, which is about our limit before we become museumed out. We went back to the hostel and had lunch around there, before grabbing our luggage and stowing it at Termini Station.
Then we headed back towards our hostel to visit the Basilica of San Giovanni. We had walked past it so many times, Jon really wanted to go back and see the inside. After that we took my sister's advice and visited the Church of San Clemente. It was pretty neat, we paid and went in, it's three churches built on top of each other essentially and you can go down one level and see the 4th Century Church and then below that a church from like 64AD! It was a neat way to end our day of sightseeing - climbing those layers. It must be amazing to be an archeologist in Rome finding everything hidden underneath its streets.
After that we walked over to Campo de Fiori (passing the place where Ceasar was assisinated ont he way!) Campo de Fiori is a very popular place to eat and grab a drink, seeing as it was one of the few neighborhoods we hadn't visited on our trip, we decided to have dinner here. We had a nice meal sitting out on the square (yes, in December! We were near a heater, but seriously I don't think that the Italians mind sitting outside in the cold because the whole time we were in Italy everywhere we went, people would just be having dinner outside regardless of the temperature. It became a running joke between Jon and I!) After dinner we headed over to the Pantheon neighborhood to our favorite little wine bar! We got a table inside and had a few glasses of wine and hung out before our train to Venice left. It was such a great way to end our time in Rome, but of course it made us not want to leave! On our way to Termini we got gelato and cappachino and then walked by the Trevi Fountain. Good-bye Rome we'll be back for one more night!