After enjoying a classic Italian breakfast at our hotel our plan was to start off our second day in Roma with a visit to Vatican City .
To avoid long lines it is usually recommended to purchase tickets in advance for the Vatican Museum and to make an appointment for your visit. Since we were not quite sure if we really wanted to visit all the super touristy parts while in Roma we waited to purchase our tickets for the Vatican Museum. It ended up costing us a little more but we were still able to snag some tickets for $38 euro each online. Thanks to the super friendly staff at our hotel we were able to print them out there prior to our excursion.
We decided to catch a taxi ride to Vatican City as it would have been quite a long walk to get there. The ride there cost us 11 Euro, which was not bad for the distance we were driven. Our appointment was for 12:30 and we arrived at 11:30 so we had about an hour to kill. Luckily you can pretty much walk anywhere around the Vatican and just people watch or take photos of cool old buildings (my first choice). So we wandered around for about 30 minutes until we stumbled upon an enclosed market called Mercato Trionfale.
Below are some photos I took as we strolled the streets near Vatican City.
They had everything from cold cuts, cheese, olive oil, wines, honey, fresh vegetable and fruits to clothing, shoes, handbags and hats for sale. I instantly started to snap photos of all these items as we strolled by. Mind you, I did get a few stares from the vendors while doing so, since we did not purchase anything from them. We ended up with one necessary purchase of a black fedora hat for my hubby so he could avoid getting sun burned on his face. Below are some photos from the market.
After the market stroll it was about time for our vist to the Vatican Museum. I was taken back by the sheer size of the museum and the collections it houses. You could probably spend hundreds of hours in this museum. Vatican city is approximately 110 acres, and has a population of just over 800. We mainly stuck the major touristy portions of the museum, finishing off at St.Peters Basilica. The whole experience was quite grand and it really makes you think about how strong the Catholic Church has been for so many hundreds of years.
Now it was time to grab some lunch, again my trusty Rick Steve's guide book came in handy. We headed over to Borgo Pio a very touristy street with shops and many restaurants to choose from. It was quite incredible to see how these restaurant owners and waiters tried to literally force and not just sell you on sitting and dinning at their restaurant instead of the one next door. My hubby and I already had a system in place for choosing where we would eat. We wold base our decision on the price of a margherita pizza. If it was more than 7 Euro for one we would walk past it and look at the next menu. We settled on a pizzeria and it was funny how the waiters still tired to sell us on their restaurant, even as we were taking our seats.
This is Borgo Pio where we ate our lunch. IT is found on the left hand side of St.Peter's Square when you walk out of the Basilica.
This woman was a Gypsy beggar, and we saw quite a few of these women across the city. I was quite interested in her shoes made of plastic bags wrapped around her feet over and over again.
Once our bellies were nice and full we needed to find a taxi ride back to our hotel. We attempted to make a call from our mobile phone to no avail. So instead we headed down to the taxi stand in front of St.Peter's Square. As soon as we walked up to the stand we were approached by one driver that gave us a price of 18 Euro. A quick note to travelers, never get in taxi cab when the driver quotes you a price. They should be running the meter and charging you accordingly. We foolishly agreed on the price and hoped in the Taxi as we just wanted to get back to our hotel.
This taxi driver proved to be quite a shady character. He was driving like crazy going on the opposite side of the road and speeding. He was pulling moves like the people on their scooters do throughout the city. Knowing that we wanted to hop right out as soon as we reached our destination after our death defying ride, I had my 20 Euro bill in hand so I could pay the man quickly. As we arrived at our drop off spot I handed him my 20 Euro bill and he quickly handed me back a 5 Euro bill stating that it was not enough and that I gave him the wrong amount. I stood my ground and told him that it was a 20 Euro bill and not a 5. In his exact words he said I know David Cooperfield and I know you gave me a 5 Euro bill. He became very frustrated and threw 1 euro back at us after almost having taken 25 Euros for the ride. This experience left a bad taste in our mouths and we were quite shady on all Romans from that point on.
To forget about this whole experience we took a little power nap before our visit to The Forum. I will be posting about this next week as again there are many many photos.