September 9 – Our Second Day in Rome
Today we started out early again, this time we decided to go over to the Vatican first thing in the morning and try to get in before the crowd. We figured that since there was a slight drizzle, the crowds might be a bit less as well. Rather than walk all of the way across Rome, we took the Metro underground from the train station to the stop that is about 3 blocks from Saint Peter’s square. It worked; we got there just after everything opened but before any crowd had started to build. We cleared through security in just a couple of minutes and proceeded to the entrance to climb to the cupola at the top of Saint Peter’s Basilica. We were able to pay our money and start our climbing.
Even with the cooler morning air and the on and off drizzling it was pretty hot work climbing to the top. We really enjoyed the breeze that you get standing on the balcony of the tallest building around. After walking the perimeter a couple of times, we headed back down. Another cool thing about climbing to the top is that the climb down drops you off inside the cathedral, so you don’t have to wait in line to get in. We toured St Peter’s for about an hour, it is one of the most spectacular cathedrals anywhere.
After we emerged from St. Peter’s we walked down the east side of the Tiber into an area called Trastevere. We wandered through the neighborhood with its narrow streets to a Cathedral called Santa Maria in Trastevere. Rome is a city with cathedrals all over the place, it seems like there is one on almost every block. It also seems like half of them are named Santa Maria “something”, where the “something” is pretty important in order to decide which Santa Maria you are talking about. The one in Trastevere is a beautiful and very old cathedral. In contrast to Saint Peter’s which is clearly focused on spectacular, this cathedral really gives the feeling of what the older Roman Cathedrals must have been like.
Since we were in Trastevere and it was lunch time, we stopped at a restaurant that we discovered a couple of years ago on another visit. While we usually don’t eat in restaurants when we travel, this one is an exception. We were able to have a nice dinner at noon time so it doesn’t sit heavy on the stomach all night long. It did in fact reduce our evening meal from down to a snack, but the food at this place was an exceptional treat. We also love the little old green Fiat parked out in front. The owner of the restaurant is definitely into nostalgia.
After lunch we crossed the river, visited another Santa Maria cathedral that seemed even older and had out in front the Mouth of Truth. From there we walked up to the Trevi Fountain and then headed back to our room to rest and do a little bit of shopping.
We had a great day, but were pretty tired when it was over.
We hope you are all doing well.
There are pictures and a map of where we were in this link to a "Garmin Adventure"
Stephen & Linda