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Family Visit: Day 2

Wednesday was a bit of a more “relaxed” day.  I decided to skip all of my classes and take a tour of the Vatican (again) with my Dad and Matt.  We woke up at around 9:00 AM and went to our hotel’s complimentary breakfast.  It was actually pretty good and had a wide selection of pastries, yogurt, and cereal.  The American coffee wasn’t very good, but most hotels and caffes over here somehow figure out a way to screw it up.

Our tour met at the tour operator’s office at 10:45 AM.  We decided to take the same tour of the Vatican that I took a month or so ago.  We had a different tour guide, but she was still very good.   We decided to only pay for a tour of the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel because I now know enough about Saint Peters to give the “short attention span tour” that my brother wanted.

At around 11:00 AM, we left and cut the surprisingly short line to the Vatican Museum.  We first saw a great view of the backside of the dome.

Matt & Dad's Visit to Rome 024

Then, our tour guide took us into the Belvedere Courtyard and gave us an overview of what we would see in the Sistine Chapel.  My Dad said it was worth the cost of the tour just to hear that.  I was also able to add some information I learned from my previous tour and my classes that the tour guide did not go over.  It was like my family got three tour guides instead of one.  After, we went and saw the Belvedere Torso and other famous artworks before finally ending the tour in the Sistine Chapel.  It was absolutely beautiful and I am happy I had the chance to see it twice while I am over here.

After our tour, we went to Saint Peter’s Basilica and I gave my Dad and brother the “short attention span tour” they wanted.  We spent about 30 minutes in the Basilica and saw pretty much everything.  The only problem was that most of the alter area wasn’t accessible because the church was set up for Holy Week masses.  They were able to see the Pieta by Michelangelo among other things, though.

After that, we went to lunch at a place very close to my apartment that I’ve wanted to try forever – Antica Taverna.  It was really good.  Matt loved it because they had bread and oil – something he was looking forward to having.

Then, we climbed the Castel Sant’Angelo which was awesome because it is the one monument that I see every day from my apartment.  It also had great views of Rome.  I was able to give them a tour of the castle/fort as I had a field study there early in the semester.  I think my brother was impressed by my knowledge.

Michael the Archangel

Michael the Archangel

View of St Peter's Basilica

View of St Peter’s Basilica

View of Central Rome

View of Central Rome

After the Castel Sant’Angelo, we went to the Pantheon and it wasn’t closing this time.  I gave my Dad and brother a quick tour of it and we sat down to relax for a bit.  Then, we went to see the Chiesa del Gesu which has an absolutely beautifully painted ceiling.  There was a mass going on, so we couldn’t walk all the way around but I think my Dad and brother were impressed.

Then, we sat on the steps of the church and talked for a bit before eventually heading to Piazza Navona to listen to the musicians and look at the paintings for a bit.

Piazza Navona at dusk

Piazza Navona at dusk

After, we went to dinner at “Da Tonino” which is another restaurant close to my apartment.  Then, we went back to our hotel to relax.

Note: This post was originally published on April 20, 2011 in a blog entitled “Romeing Around Europe” which chronicled my study abroad experience.

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