March 3, 2011

Like cattle in the Vatican

This last weekend I joined all the tourists in Rome by going to the Vatican Museum. The last Sunday of every month means free entry and every tourist in Rome seems to know this.  The line to get in was already several blocks long by the time my friends and I got there at 8:45 in the morning.

The day started off with my early alarm and very cold weather.  I was extremely close to cancelling on my friends and going back to sleep in my warm soft bed but I got up and put on my warmest clothes. After walking through an empty and quiet Frascati to meet my friends, we drove to the nearest metro stop and took the metro all the way to the Vatican.  We thought we had done really well by getting up early but as we got closer and closer to our stop the train kept filling up with more and more tourists. No one seemed to be getting off so we knew it was going to be a mad dash for the Vatican.  Sure enough, the entire train seems to clear out as we got off and hoards of people all started walking (some running)  in the  same direction we did.

Eventually, after 2 hours of waiting in the cold and inching our way down several blocks, we made it into the museum.  I was excited to soak up some culture and prepared to take many pictures but then the whole thing because very exhausting. There were so many people! There wasn’t a moment in the museum where we weren't  getting bumped and shunned along like cattle. It made picture taking very difficult. It was a little disappointing. The museum does actually have some interesting things but it was too crowded to actually appreciate them. 

Here are a couple of pictures showing the amount of people. Sorry they are blurry.

We soon gave up on the museum and joined the hoards of people that were headed for the Sistine Chapel. The first time I visited the Chapel, almost four years ago, I found it very underwhelming. It is very easy to not be inspired by the sight. The chapel is kept very dark and no one is allowed to talk or take pictures.  This past visit however was much more exciting because I had learned about and was test on all the fresco in the chapel in one of my art history classes at university. Knowing the stories behind the paintings, what they are supposed to be about, and how they were painted made seeing it so much more significant. 

I tried sneaking some pictures but they all turned out blurry. This is the best one I got.

I still thing going to the Vatican on a day that it is free is a good idea if you just want to see the main attractions of Rome and for as cheaply as possible. But if you actually want to take some time in the museum, seeing and learning some things then I suggest visiting during the week and paying the entrance fee. It would be lot less crowded and you can have a guide point out the most interesting things.

A couple weeks ago, my boyfriend and I also visited St. Peter's Basilica and climbed the 500 something steps to the to dome. So I'll post about that soon!

Leave me a comment if you have any funny/interesting/strange stories about visiting the Vatican Museum.



  1. I visited Rome this past summer and was fortunate enough to visit Vatican City on a Wednesday. Before going to the museums, my sister and I got to see and listen to the Pope deliver a blessing to the crowd...pretty awesome!

    The museums, just wow. I was amazed at all of the beauty that is held inside, including the Sistine Chapel. I really wanted to try and sneak a picture but chickened out :( So kudos to you for at least getting A picture LOL

  2. My brother visited Rome and loved it, but wasn't even able to get near the Vatican I think.

    I loved your pictures, but yeah, I'd proabably be overwhelmed as well. :( WAYYYYY too many people. Next time, it might just be worth the money to go on a day that isn't as crowded. (or not...idk how expensive it is.) But your pictures are beautiful, even the blurry ones. :) Looking forward to seeing the rest of your blog. (I have a travel blog as well.)