EXPLORING THE VATICAN, SISTINE CHAPEL AND ST PETER'S BASILICA // VATICAN CITY , ITALY

Vatican city ! It is one of the top five things to do in Rome and the lines tend to wrap around (like most tourist places in Rome). We headed out early to beat the crowds. We took the train to San Pietro train station and walked about fifteen minutes to get to Vatican city. Every couple of steps we were haggled by tour company operators and vendors offering to give us a great deal on "skip the line" tickets to get into Vatican city. Prior to leaving the hotel, we had made a decision just wait out the lines - we had the luxury of having nothing else on the agenda for the day. Ignoring all the haggler, we found our way to the Vatican.

We arrived just after 8:30 a.m. and were surprised to find a line wrapped around. I guess we were not the only ones with the brilliant idea of starting early.  It took about an hour to make it to the front of the line and into the gates of the Vatican. Not bad considering we saved about 25 euros each by waiting out the lines instead of going for with a skip the line tour Company option. I consider that winning. We purchased our tickets for the Vatican museums and the Sistine chapel. Beware of tour Companies and vendors that want to sell you tickets to St. Peter Basilica. Entry to St. Peter's Basilica is free, you just have to deal with the line to get in assuming you opt out of skip the line tickets. If you are already in the Sistine chapel there is a entry way to St. Peter basilica that skips the lines. Just ask and hope the attendant is in a good mood to let you through. 

We made our made to the museum - (which is really a collection of museums). On the ground floor of one of the museums is a "postal museum of sorts" - with a collection of stamps. There is also an operating post office offering the convinience of mailing post cards to your loved ones back home from the grounds of Vatican. We walked through the long hallways of the museums, past the gallery of maps and hall of tapestries, as we made our way towards the Sistine chapel stopping every couple of steps to stare in awe (and grab a snapshot of something spectacular).  The amazing thing about the Vatican, Chapel and Basiclica is the ceilings. We walked most of the way with our head hung back admiring the beauty of the artwork on the ceilings.

After the museum we made our way to the Sistine chapel (sorry , pictures were not allowed), so we just observed in silence - I still get chills thinking the breathtaking beauty that is the Sistine chapel. We continued on through the Vatican galleries and then on to St. Peters Basilica which left me speechless and in awe , from the ceiling , to the over the top monuments , and the resting place of past popes in the basement. We finished up our day at Vatican city with a late lunch before heading back to Rome.