Today we headed down to St Peter’s Basilica!
A little side note – every time I think of St Peter’s, I think of Killy from that old Sweet Dreams book, Too Young for Love. Does anyone remember those Sweet Dreams books featuring high school romances? My sister and I used to love those books when we were younger! And in Too Young for Love, the protagonist, Killy, is a real romantic who gets to spend the summer in Italy with her cool aunt. When Killy proposes a walk for her first day and asks her aunt for directions to St Peter’s, her aunt laughed and told her she couldn’t miss it. You definitely couldn’t miss that building!
It was a spur of the moment decision to visit the Basilica after we had left our hotel so unfortunately I hadn’t dressed appropriately as I should have (tourists are required to cover their shoulders and hem lengths must reach the knees). My long-sleeved summery white dress met the prerequisites for shoulders but was about an inch too short for the Basilica! We hadn’t initially planned on actually entering St Peter’s that day but the long line seemed to be moving quickly and there were several other tourists in shorts and tank tops so we thought perhaps the clothing requirements were only for the Vatican. However, it wasn’t until we got past the first couple of checkpoints that we were stopped – and saw the other tourists ahead of us being turned away as well!
We thought we’d have to go do something else for the day but fortunately another guard took pity on us and allowed me to pop out a back way and buy a scarf to wrap around my waist so we could keep going without having to queue up all over again! I think we were really lucky because I saw other folks without any scarves who were turned away and having to line up all over again. Next time, I’m going to insist that J and I decide exactly where we’re going before I pick an appropriate outfit when we’re sightseeing!
J made fun of me for almost getting us kicked out of St Peter’s but I say it was his fault because I kept asking him what we were planning to do that day and he wouldn’t commit to a plan until after we’d left the hotel! : P
There were still more queues waiting for us after that check point though as we waited for our turn to head up to the top of St Peter’s Dome so J spent the time snapping some photos of the cathedral.
The climb to the topis a bout 551 steps or you can take the elevator and then climb 320 steps. I was all ready to do the 551 steps as I definitely felt the need for some exercise after all the pasta we’d been scoffing down. However, J wasn’t keen on the idea so we ended up taking the lift and then the 320 steps.
The view at the top was definitely worth the steps. Check it out!
It was thirsty work climbing those steps so we were glad that there were a couple of those ubiquitous water spouts you can find all over Rome up at the top as well. We joined the line to fill up our bottles and had a drink before taking the steps back down to the main cathedral.
The architects and artists of Rome definitely outdid themselves with this one!
After St Peter’s, we were starving and headed back to the vicinity of Piazza Navona and the Pantheon for some lunch. We wandered through the streets leading away from the Spanish Steps to find J’s Italian workmate’s sister who was going to give us the keys to their parent’s holiday house near a lake outside of Rome where we were planning to spend a couple of days. Unfortunately, their mother was out of town and she had their only key so we had to forgo that option!
Also – random adorable dog pic. How cute is this little chihuahua waiting outside a church with its owner!
It was getting pretty hot again so we headed back to our hotel for a siesta before returning to Trastevere for more aperitivos and some dinner – this time to some sweet street music!