Our Rick Steves guidebook had good advice on avoiding the worst of the lines. After visiting Florence later in the week, I appreciated Rome’s sites all the more because they are so huge. There are a bunch of tourists there but you don’t feel crowded because everyone can spread out. The Roman Forum was amazing and beautiful, especially imagining the soothsayer telling Caesar “Beware the Ides of March” right near where we stood.
After lunch we took a cab to The Vatican because our dogs were barkin’. We listened to Rick Steves describe the art and were amazed by the Sistine Chapel ceiling, where I couldn’t resist sneaking a GoPro photo despite the periodic “Shhhh… . Silencio… . No Photo… . No Video… Shhhh” over the loudspeaker. I enjoyed watching less-careful tourists get busted. One woman was immediately escorted out the emergency exit. You can take photos in most of the Vatican, just not of the Sistine Chapel.
We finished out our Vatican tour with a visit to St. Peter’s basilica and the Vatican Post where we sent postcards with Pope Francis stamps to our kids. Climbing the dome of St. Peter’s is well worth the cost and effort to get up close to the 7-foot-tall letters Tv Es Petrvs.
By the way, you have to dress appropriately to visit most of Italy’s churches. Guards deny entrance to men in shorts and women in sleeveless blouses. Some places allow shorts that go to the knee.