Saturday, 4 June 2016

Travel Inspiration - Rome and the Vatican

     Europe as a whole is a continent rich in history and culture, full of beautiful sights and architecture, but Rome in particular is a standout when it comes to history (Italy has some other beautiful cities too - see my inspiration posts on Florence and Venice!). With buildings dating back hundreds and hundreds of years, as well as being the home of countless great artists and thinkers, how could anyone turn down a trip to the Eternal City? Well, they clearly can't, given how difficult it was to take photos without dozens of tourist in the forefront of them all. Anyway, there's also a whole other country within the city, the Vatican City State, headquarters of the Roman Catholic Church, and home of famous works of art, and masterpieces, such as Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel. My time in Rome was all too brief the first time, having only a day and a half there, but I then went back a second time with my family, for a long weekend this time, to see it more in depth.

Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy

St Peter's Basilica, Vatican City, Rome, Italy

Vatican Museums, Vatican City, Rome, Italy

Vatican City State, Rome, Italy

Vatican Museums, Vatican City, Rome, Italy

Ceiling fresco inside the Vatican, Rome, Italy

Vatican Museums, Vatican City, Rome, Italy

Vatican Museums, Vatican City, Rome, Italy

St Peter's Basilica, Vatican City, Rome, Italy

View from St Peter's Basilica, Vatican City, Rome, Italy

View from St Peter's Basilica, Vatican City, Rome, Italy

St Peter's Basilica, Vatican City, Rome, Italy

St Peter's Basilica, Vatican City, Rome, Italy

St Peter's Basilica, Vatican City, Rome, Italy

     Even if you are not religious in the slightest, the Vatican is well worth a visit, as proven by the number of visitors from all over the world who come here. Just remember to cover up - no bare knees or shoulders inside! I was actually lucky enough to be in Rome on a Wednesday on my first visit, and got to see the Papal Audience outside - not that I'm particularly religious, nor do I speak Italian - but it was an experience anyway! Inside the Vatican are countless pieces of artwork, some more famous than others obviously, unless you're an art history expert, not to mention the buildings themselves which are beautifully designed and decorated. Make sure you take a glance up every so often, as the ceilings are arguably the most beautiful parts of it all. None can top the Sistine Chapel of course, but as photography isn't allowed inside, you'll have to visit yourself to see it. The Basilica itself is incredible as well, so lavishly decorated and simply massive - you can also climb up to the dome for these views over the city as well!

Colosseum, Rome, Italy

Colosseum, Rome, Italy

Colosseum, Rome, Italy

Roman Forum, Rome, Italy

Roman Forum, Rome, Italy

Roman Forum, Rome, Italy

Roman Forum, Rome, Italy

Vittorio Emmanuel Monument / Altare della Patria, Rome, Italy

Vittorio Emanuel Monument / Altare della Patria, Rome, Italy

Rome, Italy

Pantheon, Rome, Italy

Pantheon, Rome, ItalySpanish Steps, Rome, Italy

Column of Immaculate Conception, Rome, Italy

Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy

Marcus Aurelius Column, Rome, Italy

Pizza Navona, Rome, Italy

Piazza Navona, Rome, Italy

Capitoline Museum, Rome, Italy

Rome, Italy

Castel Sant'Angelo, Rome, Italy

Villa Borghese Galleria, Rome, Italy

Keats Shelley Museum, Rome, Italy

Keats Shelley Museum, Rome, Italy

View from Spanish Steps, Rome, Italy

Baths of Caracalla, Rome, Italy

Baths of Caracalla, Rome, Italy

Baths of Caracalla, Rome, Italy

Rome, Italy

Rome, Italy

     The rest of Rome is no less spectacular. While some other famous sights are less impressive in person, the Colosseum is still a staggering structure to behold (perhaps a little smaller than I was expecting, but still incredible). The Trevi Fountain is also another famous sight that's just as good in person, and there are many others, such as the Spanish Steps, the Roman Forum, and the Pantheon. There are also many other incredible buildings, splendid piazzas, and beautiful fountains around every street corner - check out Piazza Navona, which has a colourful cast of street artists and performers, surrounding by those stunning Baroque buildings and fountain. The Baths of Caracalla were another favourite of mine, one of the lesser-known sights perhaps, the remains of a vast gym & spa complex. I'm also a big fan of Romantic poetry, especially John Keats, so the Keats Shelley Museum was a must-see as well! Even in two trips, Rome just has so much to see, that I still don't feel like I've seen all of it!

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