How to see the Pope up close and Day tour in Vatican City

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

#WalkwithChaMikeinVatican.



A visit to Rome would not be complete without a visit to the Vatican and a visit to the Vatican wouldn't be complete without seeing the Pope. And there's no better way to encounter the pope than to see him up close. Just what we experienced during our visit to the Vatican.
Vatican City is a country located within the city of Rome. The center of the Roman Catholic Church. It is the smallest state in the world which is ruled over by a Pope. Thousands of tourists especially catholic devotees visit the Vatican. 

St Peter's Square
How to get to The Vatican
Metro | Ottaviano S. Pietro Line A

Papal Audience
Papal Audience is a public, Catholic gathering in Vatican City for the weekly address from the pope, and his cardinals, who gives Apostolic Blessings to the crowd. A 90-minute event held every Wednesday at St. Peter's Square if the Pope is in Rome. While it is not a mass, the pope leads the audience in prayer, blessings, and a homily in multiple languages. 

Papal Audience Time:
10:30 is the start of the session but people go here as early as possible to get a good seat. Security check starts from 8:00 am - 8:30 am

Fee:
FREE

How to see the Pope upclose
We were very lucky that our visit to Rome fell on a Wednesday and because we wanted to make the most out of this trip we booked in advance thru Viator to see the Pope up close. A four- hour papal audience experience in the Vatican City with guaranteed prime spot seats to see the Pope. Included in the experience is a guide with an audio headset to hear the history behind the papacy.

Fee:
$ 43 

Meeting Point from Ottaviano Station 
We met at Piazza Pio XII, facing St Peter's Basilica, our meeting point is located on the left hand side, at the corner, next to the newspaper stand. 

Dress Code: 
No shorts or sleeveless tops are allowed. Knees and shoulders MUST be covered for both men and women. This dress code is strictly encforced and you will risk refused entry if you fail to comply with the requirements. 

Meeting Time: 
7:30 am | Meeting time 
7:45 am | Start of tour 

Tour Option Description: 
Papal audience ticket and presentation, with commentary from an English-speaking guide

Inclusions:
Professional guide
Papal audience
Commentary (legacy of the Vatican presentation)
Headsets to hear the guide clearly

Up early in the morning to be on time for the meeting
We were there around 7:00 am
Our meeting place is right next to this souvenir shop where we encountered a Pinoy staff
We bought rosaries from this shop where we were given discounts because we're Pinoy
While completing for other tourists, the guide handed us the headsets and pass
Because of the tour, we were able to go inside the square earlier than the others.
There were very few people around that time
Apostles statues on top
People are beginning to fill up the seats
ChaMike and D'mufs inside the barricaded area
While waiting for the Pope, our guide told us the history of the Vatican while we were waiting for the event to start
Our seats were at the back of the barricade where the Pope will pass through so we definitely had a nice view when he arrived
Waiting for the Pope
He's here!
We were able to see him up close
Closer
And closer
He was just in front of us but facing on the other side. Sorry it's blurred :(
During the Apostolic Blessing
We decided to go near the stage to have a closer look at the Pope
The program was about to end. Before it ended, he met some of the chosen visitors
It was a fulfilling experience seeing the pope up close and listening to the Apostolic blessing. Even if I am not a Catholic, I just couldn't resist this moment, not just because of #fomo but because this is a memorable event for Christians as well.

After the event, of course we were all famished. We had lunch in a restaurant just outside the square recommended by our new found Pinoy friend. It was the last Italian meal we had. We ordered sandwiches, pastries, pizza, pasta and more pasta. 

Last lunch in Italy

Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel
Vatican Museum is a Christian art museum located inside the Vatican City it contains paintings, sculpture and other work of arts collected by the pope through the centuries. The Sistine Chapel is a papal chapel inside the Vatican Palace. It is famous for its Renaissance frescoes by Michelangelo

How to get to the Vatican Museum:
A few minutes walk from St Peter's Square.

Opening Time:
Monday - Saturday | 9:00 am - 6:00 pm (final entry at 4:00 pm)

On the last Sunday of each month the museums can be visited free of admission charge from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm (final entry at 12:30 pm)

Fees:
€ 16 | Full price ticket
€ 7 | Audio guide
+  € 4 | Pre sales fee (for online purchase)
€ 27 | Total price of what I paid

The Vatican Museum has the most number of tourists in Rome. So purchasing a ticket on the day itself is a bad idea. So to avoid the long line, we purchased tickets online HERE. You have to include the exact date and time of your visit and you have to book ahead to have sure slots.

Do's and Don'ts
Clothing | no sleeveless top, shorts, skirts not covering the knee and hats. 
No food & drinks inside the exhibition halls
Photography | forbidden to use flash photography inside the museums and no photography at all in the Sistine Chapel.
Mobile phones | not permitted to be used inside the exhibition spaces and the sistine chapel.

Tour guide swindlers- BEWARE!
After our lunch, we hurriedly went to the museum and while we were looking for the museum entrance we saw an information kiosk. But before we even asked the information staff, a man approached us and because we thought he was one of the information staff we gladly entertained him and asked where the Vatican Museum is. He talked and talked and talked and convinced us that we need to get another ticket going inside the Vatican Museum even if we already had an online purchase, because we were already pressed for time, we believed his LIES! and paid €15 each for that useless crap (on top of the ticket we paid!) So beware of men like the ones we encountered! It totally ruined my Vatican experience because of the scammer. How can a very religious place be filled with liars like him. I was upset the whole time! 

That man on the rightmost was the scammer who fooled us!
This map which convinced us to buy a ticket
Useless stickers
Entrance going to the Vatican Museum
Our voucher which we exchanged for the actual ticket
When we went inside the Vatican Museum my anger subsided after seeing the marvelous artworks. 

Lovely ceiling
Our stressed selves
Artworks on our left, right and top
Frescoes
Gallery of Maps
Fresco selfie
So many artworks
Even more frescoes
The museum has paintings from all angles
The Sistine Chapel was the highlight of the museum for me. Seeing Michelangelo's frescoes especially The Creation of Adam was all I ever wanted to see. We have a replica of that in our house and I've seen that painting since I was young, so looking at that particular painting was an epic experience. Even if picture taking is not allowed, I saw a lot of tourists taking photos and because I really wanted to have a souvenir photo, I took a shot too. I think I deserved this photo from all the stress I had with the swindler guide. 

Sistine Chapel's frescoes
Sadly, we failed to visit St Peter's Basilica because of time constraints (we needed to check out from our Airbnb asap.) So I had no souvenir photo of the Basilica and all the famous holy relics and the Pieta.

Poorly photographed spiral stairs.
It was a memorable experience but every time I think of Vatican, the tour guide who fooled us was the first thing that comes to my mind. I hope this serves a lesson not just for me but for those of you reading my blog.

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RIO DE JANEIRO BRAZIL