I went down to the Vatican today, and luckily there were no lines, no waiting whatsoever! And this at a place famed for how busy it gets. If you're going to be there in the summer, for sure reserve online! I saved more than half the 15 euro Museum fee with my student discount (win) and St. Peter's Basilica, like every other church in Italy, is free!
Being at the Vatican was quite an experience. St. Peter's Basilica is massive, and so opulent. Really makes you wonder how a religion preaching charity is doing on the whole, "put your money where your mouth is." The church is beautiful though, and full of huge statues of former Popes and saints (sometimes the same thing...). The frescos and gilding are everywhere, but honestly it's sort of just like every other Catholic Church I've visited, but on steroids. I had the hardest time finding the cryot, or grotto, where many of the Popes are buried along with St. Peter's remains. It's a crazy hidden staircase near one of the statues, and after all my poking around I made it down there.
|the Vatican's "Death Star"|
Having seen the sights, and the Vatican, I decided to walk to the Villa Borghese Park, where I spent a few hours meandering around. Ensconsced in the trees is a darling lake, which features an old temple to the healing god Aesculapius, around which couples rowed and basked in the sun. I found an awesome bench to chill on, and as I caught up on my journal (which I miraculously managed to finish despite grossly neglecting this blog), I was awkwardly attacked by crows though, which sort of ruined the vibe... Katie, the girl I'd walked around with a few nights before, had accidentally booked a viewing at the Borghese Museum for the day she was flying out, and had graciously given me the tickets to use. Sean and I met and headed into the fabulously decorated villa. Most of the impressive pieces were those commissioned by the family to decorate the house before it was turned from a private residence into a display for sculpture and art. The most incredible piece was one done by Bernini called Daphne and Apollo, in which she is part tree and part woman as he catches up to her. You are not allowed to take any photos, so I'll just have to remember it... or search it on google!
|The Temple of Aesculapius at the Villa Borghese Park.|
|Can you believe they sell wine like this?|