Day 2 Rome:
Eat another full breakfast before starting out! Your feet may be sore but we still have much ahead of us so throw on your walking shoes and lets get started.
Start out the day early in Saint Peter’s square in Vatican City. Early in the morning the shops lining the street leading up to this massive historical site will be closed, but don’t fear they’ll be long open when you head back out.
Take your time walking around the square before heading into the basilica. Many of the
fountains, pillars, saints statues, and cement inlays beneath your feet were commissioned and completed during the reign of Pope Sisstius. This was during Michelangelo’s time!
Then find your way up to the entrance and just before entering take notice of the Swiss guards still wearing their original uniforms designed back in the day. But don’t try to get a laugh out of them, like the beefeaters of England they aren’t allowed to move or talk with civilians. As you wander through the inside of the basilica you will see famous works of art completed by Michelangelo, Bernini, Bramante, Raphael and many more!
After you have taken it all in, walk back outside and around the exterior of Vatican City to find the entrance to the Vatican Museum. To get the most out of this one see if there are any tours available. The tours are about 2 hours and provide escort into the most prominent rooms including the Sistine chapel. If there aren’t any tours available, or the cost is too high in the high tourist season get a general entrance pass and find your way through the museum on your own. Follow the hall of tapestries and the hall of maps to the Sistine Chapel. Once inside the chapel, marvel at how small it actually is and then crane your head back to get a good glimpse at the famous ceiling! There may be a large crowd but don’t let others push and prod you out until you have seen all you wish to see! Once you have seen your fill, or your neck is killing you, wander back out and admire further frescos on the walls leading out of the museum.
Back on the streets of Rome find a local pizza bar on your way toward the river. These pizza vendors by the Vatican are some of the best in Rome. Enjoy a quick lunch of your favorite slice and if needed, grab an extra piece to go as you head toward the Tiber to walk along the edge of the river on your way toward the bridge of angels and Castel Sant’Angelo. This site used to be a strong hold for Pope’s and rulers of Rome, there is even an underground passage leading from Vatican City to the castle. It is reference in the famous book Angels and Demons and clips of it are actually shown in the film!
Now head across the bridge of angels toward the center of Rome but fall short and head north toward Piazza del Popolo. Enjoy the recently refurbished fountains, shops and vendors, grab a gelato and then at your leisure head back south toward the hotel and the main shops of Rome past the Spanish steps and the Trevi Fountain (this one is good to catch a glimpse of at night as well when it is lit up!) Shop, eat, and wander until your feet may fall off and then call it a night and get ready for Florence (Firenze)!
There is so much more to do in Rome besides what I have here, but with only two days this is a pretty comprehensive look at the city and most of its major sites. That said, if you come across any other sites you really want to see, or have heard about that you feel you just can’t miss, add them to the mix how ever you see fit! (Other potential sites include Villa Borghese, Circo Massimo, Sant’ Giovanni in Laterno, Teatro Marcello, etc)
Day 3 – Travel Day
Take the train from Rome to Firenze. You may need a quick translation from Italian to English to find your train…but if you stick to your ticket, you’ll be sure to arrive in Firenze without worry.