Our train left Florence around 9:19 AM to go to Rome. We arrived at Rome Termini around 11. That station is packed with people. A place you really need to be careful with your bags and wallet.
The train ride was nice. For this train we were in premium class. Premium class gets you leather seats and a welcome drink and snack of cookies. The kids were excited to see those.
The scenery was very nice. There are a lot of rolling hills in Italy. You go through lots of tunnels when you are in the hill side.
We dropped our luggage off at the apartment. The apartment was not ready for us so we then proceeded to our sight seeing stop of the day – Vatican City. I had not wanted to start our trip off seeing this but it was the only day that would work with a Easter festivities upon us.
Walking to the Vatican you are hounded with tour operators trying to sell you guided tours that skip the line. We ignored these tour guides.
We found a place to get lunch. Initially we were concerned as the place seemed deserted. However the food was actually pretty good and we received a complimentary cappuccino with our meal. It was also very reasonably priced. I was expecting to pay an arm-and-leg being so close to the Vatican.
We then walked across Saint Peter’s square and I attempted to find where I was supposed to pick up my tickets to the Pope’s Easter Mass. I finally figured out that I had to ask the Swiss Guard for the tickets. It was kind of funny. You show them your note and then they hand you tickets.
After procuring my tickets to mass we headed to the front of the Vatican Musuems to meet our tour guide. There were lines wrapping around St. Peter’s Basillica and lines wrapping around the Vatican Musuems to get in. I had booked a private tour with an operator that specializes in family tours. This was a three hour tour of the museum and basilica. I figured it was the only way to possibly see the Musuem and basillica without the kids complaining too much. The tour guide was worth it. It was long but by the time we went into the Sistine Chapel the kids were able to look for things on their own.
My other options for Vatican City were a group tour through the Vatican which has 25 plus people in it for three hours, audio headphones, or no tour guide at all. I felt the private tour was the best option because we would have gone crazy with the group tour. The audio tour we would have been listening to different things and would not have seen it as a family. The private tour was good because we could stop at things and also hear the tour guide.
The Sistine Chapel was amazing. And so was Saint Peter’s Basillica. I was not prepared for how large the Basillica is. It is very breathtaking.
In regards to the kids – I have not noticed a whole bunch of kids in the places we have been. Maybe it is different in the summer. The kids have been extremely well behaved when we take them to these “boring” places but it is also easy to remind them that gelato is waiting when we finish.
So, after our tour we promptly headed for gelato. We almost let the kids get the waffle cones and then we realized those were for four scoops of gelato and eight euros each. So we all had the size that was two scoops each.
We ate our gelato and then headed towards the metro. About twenty feet before we went into the metro the Bubba declared he was too tired to move and so we had a family sit down on a bench for a few minutes.
We got back to the apartment and declared we were too tired to go out to eat. Which meant that I was in charge of finding a grocery store and making dinner. Oh well. I have decided the only safe way to cross a street in Rome is to wait for a bunch of other people who need to cross and then all cross at once. Otherwise crossing the street seems very dangerous.
While I was at the grocery store I picked up one of those giant Easter eggs for the kids. They were very excited to eat it 🙂 I wonder if things are severely discounted like they are in the US? If so I see us buying more on Monday.
Now, here are pictures I took today. I am too tired to spread them out in this blog post.