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 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, having only a day and a half there to see as much as possible. I did see a lot in that time, but I'll definitely be back for a longer stay one day.

Trevi Fountain, Rome, Italy

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

Sphere Within Sphere - bronze globe - inside Vatican, Rome, Italy

Vatican City State, Rome, Italy

Apollo Belvedere statue in the Vatican City State | Rome, Italy

Ceiling fresco inside the Vatican, Rome, Italy

Ceiling fresco inside the Vatican | Rome, Italy

Interior of St Peter's Basilica, Vatican City State | Rome, Italy

Cupola of St Peter's Basilica, Vatican City State | Rome, Italy

Cupola of St Peter's Basilica, Vatican City State | Rome, Italy

View from the Cupola of St Peter's Basilica, Vatican City State | Rome, Italy

View from the Cupola of St Peter's Basilica, Vatican City State | Rome, Italy

Exterior of St Peter's Basilica, Vatican City State | 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 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.

Altare della Patria, Rome, Italy

Rome, Italy

Pantheon, Rome, Italy

Piazza Navona, Rome, Italy

Roman Forum, Rome, Italy

Roman Forum, Rome, Italy

Roman Forum, Rome, Italy

Roman Forum, Rome, Italy

Inside the Colosseum, Rome, Italy

Inside the Colosseum, Rome, Italy

Inside the Colosseum, Rome, Italy

Inside the Colosseum, Rome, Italy

Colosseum, Rome, Italy

The Spanish Steps, Rome, Italy

Piazza di Spagna, 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, but was somewhat disappointing during my trip, as it was undergoing restoration and there was no water flowing. Aside from these most famous sights though, 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. I usually like to see a mix of famous sights and everyday sort of streets when exploring a new city, but Rome has so many sights that I didn't have much time left for the latter (next time!). My favourite area was probably around Piazza Navona, which has a colourful cast of street artists and performers, surrounding by those stunning Baroque buildings and fountain. Rome, I will definitely be back!

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