Monday, August 30, 2010

The Vatican is NOT fun with kids…

Rome day 4 Vatican visit

Well I guess you can tell by the title that I was not a happy chappy in the Vatican, although the photos tell a different story :-)

We started the day off wonderfully by getting up early and having something to eat in the apartment. We walked about 20 minutes and came to the Ponte Vittorio Emmanuelle to cross the Tevere. This is a beautiful bridge with large statues on both sides, very picturesque against the Castel San’ Angelo on the other side of the Tevere.

Another 5-10 minutes walk to the Vatican, because I forgot to bring the map and had to purchase another one just in case we got lost. I have to have a map at all times ;-)

We entered the Vatican city through the Piazza Pio XII (the round plaza with the tall post in the middle- you will have to pardon my ignorance to the name of it) and looked around to see if we could find the ticket office (bigliteria). We could not find anything, there were no signs pointing to anything and no visitors boards with maps. It is very hard to find anything in the Vatican city without paying for it. We went to line up in a line that looked short and it was for people to go through metal detectors. I assumed we needed tickets to show so we exited and walked around towards the Basilica and found an information office there. The man behind the counter said we could buy tickets for the Vatican museums that let us “skip the line”, we said no thank you and he said the shorter line was for the Basilica only. He did not however mention that the Basilica was FREE to enter…GRRRR. So we walked all around the Vatican walls until we found a VERY long line for the museum. A woman selling “skip the line” tickets bombarded us with information and told us if we purchased the tickets we not only “skip the line” but get headsets for the tour guide and get entrance into the Basilica and tombs below (at this stage we still didn’t know that the Basilica and tombs were FREE). We purchased her tickets and went to beginning of the line with the tour guide that was just about to go in. The headsets were awful and every time the guide spoke they crackled in my ear and it hurt, it was so frustrating. And the kids were mucking around before we even set foot in the museum. Let me just say that a tour guide is NOT needed in the Vatican museum, you can purchase your ticket for 15 euros and line up or you can purchase a ticket for 21 euros and skip the line (from the information office near the Basilica) I recommend doing this if you don’t line up before opening time at 9am. Then when inside the museum purchase an AUDIOGUIDE with headset and map for 7 euros, you can then listen to information about the art you find interesting and you do not have to WAIT around for anyone. PLEASE remember this advice I have given you, it will save you a lot of time, money and heartache. Also remember the Sistene Chappel is inside the Vatican museums, look for the signs (apparently you can miss it and then you have purchase another ticket).

After all that, I did enjoy most of it especially when we ditched the headset and guide and went it alone (and Iain went ahead with the boys to find a toilet). I had the camera in my hot little hands and took photo’s of everything I found interesting inside and outside the museum, the interiors are amazing and the gardens are spectacular.

If you don’t have time for all of the Vatican(at least 3 hours in museum), then I recommend just seeing St Peters Basilica (you can climb the dome on the stairs or take a lift for 7euros) and the tombs of the PoPes. Both the Basilica and tombs are FREE entry and have the shortest lines. And you can take photos without flash in the Basilica.

Levi and Phoenix recommend finding your children a babysitter for the day because they thought they were dying in the museum from boredom.

After a most tiring day we headed back to the apartment for siesta and woke again at 5pm cooked something for the kids and went for a walk along the Tevere on our way back to the apartment we stopped in Palazzo Farnese and had 2 coffees and some biscuits (10 euros, most expensive so far eek).
We slept well this night.

No comments: