For the love of Vatican City

A quiet and peaceful hotel allowed us to have a bit of a sleep in before heading up to the rooftop for breakfast. The hostess is a lovely Romania lady – she makes the best stewed apples, just the perfect amount of cinnamon flavour.

This lady lives in Italy with her husband and catches the bus at 3am each day to be at work by 6am. Her young child lives in Romania with maternal grandmother and she has moved to Italy to earn money so her child can be educated.

Quite a remarkable story- jobs are hard to come by in Italy but they must be much harder to get in Romania. To have to live in another country to afford sending your child to school.. How lucky we are in Australia.

From this roof top we have a 360 degree view over Rome with Vatican City in close proximity. It is a gorgeous breakfast setting and is 30 degrees at 10am

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After breakfast we walked to the Vatican. So lucky we pre purchased tickets online some time ago to avoid the queues, this is a must do for anyone coming to the Vatican.
The line to purchase tickets is at least 1 km.

We walked straight to the entrance and were inside ready to do our tour. It is ridiculous how big this place is, the tour is interesting but soo long – there is 8 kilometers of corridors just in the Vatican. Insane.

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Our mission got us to the Sistine Chapel. Michelangelo during the years of 1508-1512 decoratively painted the walls and the ceiling and it is completely breathtaking.

Apparently it was painted in two separate periods, the ceiling first and the walls about six years later, one wall depicts the Last Judgment and the ceiling depicts the image of God and Adam’s finger meeting. Arguably the most iconic piece of artwork in the world.

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As part of the traditions of the Papal Succession ritual, black smoke appears from the chimney of the conclave room in the Sistine Chapel indicating whether a new Pope has been elected.

The Cardinals vote and then the papers are burnt, previously hay was added to the burning to promote a black colouring but nowadays chemicals are added. We spent at least one hour standing in the middle of this room observing all of the phenomenal artwork.

We’ve had enough of squirming through crowds, it is so hot and we have seen what we wanted to. On our exit we somehow manage to swindle tickets to the Popes Mass this Wednesday morning -what are the chances of this happening just once a month and it’s on while we are here. Must be a bit of a blessing from above. Can’t wait to go to this!!

Following suite, we joined the line to Saint Peter’s Basilica, can’t avoid this line as it’s a security check. It’s a public area though so no tickets are required. The line is about half an hour long; prime chance for some more sun tanning.

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People are jumping queue everywhere and a guy that we have met from Melbourne has lost it, he is now playing part time security guard not letting people push in front #GoodLad.

This is labeled as the greatest Catholic Church and once inside – the title is noticeable, so huge and grand.

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We stop to say our prayers at the secluded chapel, then walking the floors dodging the massive pillars. Under ground of the church we visited the tombs of the former Popes and even a Queen of Cyprus.

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Feeling very blessed, we went to the Castel Sant’Angelo and hung out at Palazzo di Giustizia over the Ponte San Angelo.

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Getting lost in the laneways we spotted a local restaurant just on the outskirts of the tourist trap. Rome sure makes a good pizza.

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Our next stop was the best!! We discovered a gelato shop that served Nutella by the scoop.. #SayNoMore

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As our travels continued, I saw more and more Fiat Cinquecentos. These vintage beauties are in all different colours and are thankfully giving me my Fiat fix because I really miss my little red lady.

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There are so many Piazzas to see so we did the rounds to Piazza Navona, Piazza Malanzana where we saw the Senate and then to the famous Pantheon.

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Whilst roaming the many piazzas and laneways, we found my little friend – a vintage Fiat with surprises on the back.

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Luckily we are able to see the Trevi Fountain and spend some time here before it gets renovated in the next few weeks and there will be no access. Rome attractions can be found everywhere but none will be as pretty as this.

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For good luck we tossed a coin over our heads and into the fountain.

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Next stop is Villa Medici in the gardens and then onto the main street Via del Corso – such a busy street full of buskers, street performers and frantic shoppers.

We shop here and realise Rome is one of the best cities to shop that we have been to. With our shopping bags we head for Via Condotti, Borgognona and Frattina, via Mario dè Fiori. This is the designer section of Roma and we get sucked into more shopping.

The return rate is quite good with the Value Added Tax at the airport so we don’t feel so guilty shopping up a storm. My advice would be to save your shopping for Rome when in Italy.

Dragging ourselves out of the stores we head home via Piazza del Popolo and the Ponte Margherita. It’s later in the evening, about 8pm but the summer sun is confusing us.

We relax at the hotel with a spritz and chat to our concierge. He recommends the best pizza restaurant in Rome that happens to be close by but because it is so popular the next available table is not until 1145pm. Apparently this is standard time for dinner for the Europeans.

We take this booking and arrive on time. We sit outside with lots of other waiting customers to be seated. Gee! This pizza better be bloody good.

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I order a broccoli salad to start but it arrives as boiled spinach, equally as nice but I had my taste buds set on broccoli. Tip for Rome, Broccoli means Spinach.

The pizzas do look incredible and taste just as fine; they are oval shape and served on sliders. The ingredients are really fresh. The venue is old and dated; it feels like we are sitting on a dining room table in an old village. The plates don’t match and the cutlery from many different sets, the table cloths seem out of place too. It’s 130am and the queue to enter keeps growing.

It was a pleasant stroll home and off to bed with full pizza bellies – Naughty on the health but oh well.. while in Rome.. Night x

Anna Owens is the founder of ownsit! A mama working in Community Development and Partnerships Education. Anna is a colour crazy, creativity enthusiast who loves to design, collect shoes, eat & travel.. x

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