Italy–Part III; Sistine Chapel

You could imagine after a half marathon, then a walk-a-thon in Rome, then a train to Pisa and a train to Florence and a train back to Rome, that we would be exhausted. We were. But, I had the Sistine Chapel on my list and we had to.

We left the hotel Wednesday morning to city center Rome where we would then decide if we should take the metro to Vatican City or walk.

Of course we walked 🙂

We ate, bought gelato, and got moving.

We went without a plan. We hadn’t pre-purchased tickets to see the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, or St. Peter’s Basilica. (I recommend doing this if you ever travel to Rome.) When we got there, we had no idea what was what. What we did know was that it. was. crowded. Apparently, tourism in Rome was nothing compared to tourism in Vatican City.

Trying to figure out where to go was tough. We couldn’t really find anyone or anywhere to ask for help and other tourists seemed just as lost and confused as us. There were a ton of people selling “speed tickets” or tickets to skip the lines and we tried asking where we could buy tickets the normal way but they were insistent on only giving us info for their pricey ones.

We finally realized that we were in front of St. Peter’s Basilica and that the line for that was approximately 2 hours and that the Sistine Chapel had a 4 hour wait. Separate lines for each.

In front of St. Peter's Square

In front of St. Peter’s Square

We went with the Sistine Chapel and it took us 3 and a half hours.

The line wrapped around the wall that separates Vatican City to Rome. We were caught off guard at how long the line was but knew that this was the only item on our agenda for the day. We were going to do it.

I think we were so tired at this point that we didn’t even think to take a picture of the line, the crowd, or anything nearby lol. I did get this picture as we snailed along though.

Calle de Vatican

Viale Vaticano

After a few hours and sun burnt neck, we made it to the entrance. Yay!


See that empty space right in front of the entrance? Yeah, that space with no line? That’s for people who pre-paid in advance. Doh!

Once you’re inside:



I don't know the story behind this acorn :(

I don’t know the story behind this acorn 😦

It was in this area that I saw people taking bits of grass and leaves from bushes and taking it with them.

When we found another entrance, we began our walk towards the Sistine Chapel. You couldn’t go directly to it but had to walk pretty much the entire place before finally reaching it. I’d say it took us about an hour and a half including the stops we made to take pics and look around.

(Prepare for picture overload)



I thought the statue above my head was creepy pretty cool.

I thought the statue above my head was creepy pretty cool.



A ceiling

This is a ginormous rug. It really amazed me.

This is a ginormous rug. It really amazed me.

Different angle

Different angle

The entrance to awesomeness

The entrance to awesomeness

This isn't the famous Sistine Chapel ceiling but it was breathtaking nonetheless (even somewhat more than the Chapel to be honest)

This isn’t the famous Sistine Chapel ceiling but it was breathtaking nonetheless (even somewhat more than the Chapel to be honest)


Wall of one of the rooms we passed through.


Everything was overwhelmingly detailed.


Love this view. You can really see how impressive each room is both in size and decor.


It was soon after this ^ room that we walked in to the Sistine Chapel. No pictures were allowed. There was a booming voice heard throughout mandating this. We still saw people pretend to not hear (and we might have let a finger slip on our own phones).

It was smaller than I pictured but still incredibly beautiful. I really wanted to see the famous Creation of Adam painting and it was easy to spot and very breathtaking. I couldn’t believe I was seeing it in person with my own eyes. You see it sometimes, in a book or on tv, but it was right there. Right there!

We hung out for a while and then made our way to the Sorti (exit).

We spent the rest of the day (it was evening at this point) doing some shopping. I couldn’t leave Italy without buying an Italian leather purse (yay!) and souvenirs for my family.


Our flight for Paris the next day wasn’t too early but we were pretty tired and decided to head back and get some rest.

But not before getting a last Italian gelato though 🙂

–Do you like art? I’m not a huge art aficionado but I love historical art like the Creation of Adam and The Last Supper (if we ever come back to Italy, Milan is on our list)

–Have you stood in a 4 hour line before?

Next and final stop: Paris, France!!

Our first two days in Italy are here and here. Our time spent in Spain, here and here. Thanks for visiting!!



Italy, Part I

I’m going to break the time spent in Italy into parts. We were there for 3 days and the first day (actually, everyday) was jam packed.

We arrived in Rome late night Sunday and we luckily had the foresight when planning to get a hotel near the airport. In fact, our hotel was at the airport. When we landed, all we had to do was pick up our luggage and walk through a long terminal that ended at the footsteps of our Hilton. It was so convenient and after a day of 13.1 miles, a 2 hour flight, and jet lag we much appreciated this convenience.

Our intentions were to wake up early and take the hotel’s shuttle to downtown Rome but we were SO tired we slept in til around 10ish.

We got to Rome’s city center around noon and the shuttle dropped us off right in the middle of all good stuff with the Colosseum and Pantheon within walking distance.

In fact, when we got off the shuttle the first thing we “saw” was the Colosseum. Or so we thought. Now, remember that we’ve never seen it in person. All we had to go by was history books and the movie Gladiator. We stood looking up at this building (large, but definitely the massiveness that we expected) severely disappointed. This was it?? There’s no way! We could hear other tourists around us asking each other the same thing.

Then the driver, who spoke broken English, said, “No. This not Colosseum. This is theatre.”

Whew!! For a second there we had had our spirits broken. Ben and I laughed at ourselves and took pictures in front of what we then dubbed the faux-losseum. Jaja!!!

The Faux-losseum

Teatro Marcello AKA: The Faux-losseum

There was a small restaurant close by where we decided to get lunch and yeah, it was pretty amazing 🙂 I had lasagna and Ben had a pizza with a whole bunch of stuff on it. Amazing.

The soda was only $5 at this little restaurant. Lol!

The soda was only $5 at this restaurant lol!

Then….I HAD GELATO!!! I took some to go as we got our sight seeing started. It was seriously amazing and I ended up eating gelato like 3 times everyday that we were there.



We decided that our first stop would be the Pantheon which was closest to where we were at. Along the way, we saw this:


Yes, the guy is holding up the other guy with just that stick!! And, his arm wasn’t shaking AT ALL. The guy on top was super still too! The whole thing was just crazy.

Finally, we reached the Pantheon.


I’m not a huge history buff but I did know this was a must see.

We hung out for a bit then continued onward. Next stop, the real Colosseum.

On our way there, we swung by a church (and there were quite a few of them!).






We kept at it reaching our final destination.

They had this poster on a wall near the Colosseum:


And this is the real thing:


At the top of each entry way was a number. So back in the day, when people would look for their seats they’d know which “section” to go to. Cool, huh?

so awesome


We decided not to pay to go inside the Colosseum. It was pretty expensive and we had a pretty good view of the inside from the outside looking in. We were okay with just that 🙂

On our way back to our meeting spot for hotel shuttle pick-up, we swung by another church. This one was huuuge!

I don't know what this church is called :( but it was stunning.

I don’t know what this church is called 😦 but it was stunning.

Where's Helly?? :)

Where’s Helly?? 🙂

And then the inside:

This was the entrance leading inside.

This was the entrance leading inside.

That ceiling!

That ceiling!

The size of the statues inside were incredible!

The size of the statues inside were incredible!

We took a ton of pictures of this church. There was so much to look at!

When we left, we headed back to the location of the faux-losseum for our ride back to the hotel–not before getting lost of course!! Lol!

We finally made it and on our way, took a pit stop here:


Around 7 o’clock and 8-10 miles later we were back in our room completely exhausted. We knew had a busy day ahead of us so we wanted to get a good night’s sleep.

Next stop: Florence and Pisa!!

If you missed my Spain re-cap and/or my Rock n Roll Madrid 1/2 Marathon recap, here ya go!

Hope you all had a good weekend and have a happy Monday!

–What was your weekend like? Total miles? (28 for me)

–Have you seen the movie Gladiator?