Rome Travel Diary – Part 2

Hey folks,

Here’s part 2/3.

We woke up the next day after the overnight rain storm and welcomed the sunshine with open arms! The forecast said that it would be a morning of showers before another storm right through the evening and night. With the sun still shining we headed out with our hopes high.

Bus Stop, Via Ostiense, Rome, ItalyPuddle, Via Ostiense, Rome, Italy

^ messing around at the bus stop, taking pics of the trees reflected in the puddles… =)

Just as we were getting off the bus, in Vatican City, the rain came pounding down. We ran straight into the first cafe to get breakfast – Novo Caffe.

Rain, Nova Caffe, Rome, Italy

As soon as we sat down I knew we’d made a mistake. The menu, translated into six languages, totally screamed tourist trap. The prices were also pretty high but as we’d already sat down and got comfortable, and crucially, it was dry inside, we decided not to leave.

Menu, Nova Caffe, Rome, Italy

We ordered the house special breakfast to share. In fairness it doesn’t look too bad, it was a bit rubbish, though. All the ingredients tasted quite processed and plastic. The blood orange juice was probably the best part of the meal, kindly pretend that I didn’t forget to snap a pic of it below!

Eggs With Veg, Nova Caffe, Rome, ItalyCroissant, Nova Caffe, Rome, ItalyCoffee, Nova Caffe, Rome, Italy

As the rain eased off, we made our way over to St Peter’s Basilica…

Walking To Basilica Di San Pietro, Vatican

It is HUGE. We’re talking 46 meters in height, kinda huge. And that dome, that’s 136 meters high, and 2 meters in diameter. Colossal.

Also, those clouds look ready to burst open with monsoon rains!

Panoramic, Basilica Di San Pietro, Vatican

^Mr Man’s iPhone pano.

Rain Clouds, Basilica Di San Pietro, Vatican

The storm and winds last night seem to have knocked over all the chairs.

Columns, Basilica Di San Pietro, VaticanBasilica Di San Pietro, Vatican CityBasilica Di San Pietro, VaticanClose Up, Basilica Di San Pietro, Vatican

Check out the ceilings at the entrance. So elaborate.

Entrance Ceiling Detail, Basilica Di San Pietro, VaticanEntrance Ceiling, Basilica Di San Pietro, Vatican

Breathtaking.

Stone Work, Basilica Di San Pietro, VaticanMini Dome, Basilica Di San Pietro, Vatican

In awe.

Inside Basilica Di San Pietro, VaticanInside The Basilica Di San Pietro, Vatican

Such high ceilings.

Exploring, Basilica Di San Pietro, VaticanCeiling, Basilica Di San Pietro, VaticanDome, Ceiling Paintings, Basilica Di San Pietro, Vatican

^Just wow, I wish I actually knew something about photography so I could do it justice.

Altar And Dome, Basilica Di San Pietro, VaticanPainted Dome, Basilica Di San Pietro, Vatican

The detail!

Altar, Basilica Di San Pietro, Vatican

Just wow.

Altar Close Up, Basilica Di San Pietro, VaticanArches, Basilica Di San Pietro, VaticanFloor, Basilica Di San Pietro, VaticanInside Dome, Basilica Di San Pietro, Vatican

When we eventually stepped out and realised it was raining, hard, we decided to climb the dome later instead.

Heavy Rainfall, Basilica Di San Pietro, Vatican

We headed round the corner to the Vatican museum.I can’t tell you enough to book in advance. The queue really and truly is monstrous. Luckily we had made a booking online the night before and strolled straight past the line, winding all the way round the block, to the entrance. Also, we decided to pick up a pair of audio guides and a map – enhanced the experience so much. The place is huge, you can spend the entire day there just exploring and learning about all the various artefacts. I won’t bore you with the details here and now, though.

We kinda cruised through, though, spending longer in a couple of areas of interest, because it was really, really busy! And uh, that kinda ruined it.

Entrance, Mvsei Vaticani, Vatican Museum

Ancient Egyptian area (Roman’s conquered Egypt at one point):

Egyptian Hieroglyphs, Vatican Museum (2)Egyptian Hieroglyphs, Vatican MuseumEgyptian Statues, Vatican MuseumMummies, Egyption Artifacts, Vatican MuseumMummies, Egyptian History, Vatican Museum

^ see what I mean about it being busy!

Chiaramonti Hall / Museum:

Hall Of Sculptures, Vatican Museum

^ pretty busy. Looks like people had the same idea as us, to escape the rain!

Sculptures, Vatican Museum

Sphere within a sphere, symbolising how fragile and complex (all the cogs) the world is.

Giant Fractured Sphere At The Vatican Museum

Aaaaaall the art:

Beheaded Painting, Vatican MuseumBattle Painting, Vatican MuseumArtwork, Vatican MuseumArt, Vatican MuseumSala di Costantino, Vatican MuseumPainted Ceiling At The Vatican Museum

And no shortage of jaw-dropping ceilings:

Ceilings, Vatican MuseumDetailed Ceilings, Vatican MuseumDomed Ceiling, Vatican MuseumPainted Ceilings, Vatican MuseumCeiling, Gallery of Maps, Vatican Museum

This corridor, in particular, the gallery of maps, was very cool – Venice and Italy below:

Map of Venice, Vatican MuseumMap Of Italy, Vatican Museum

Copies of old scriptures and books.

Religious Texts, Vatican Museum

And finally, the famous Sistine chapel, Michelangelo’s masterpiece, depicting various biblical stories. You’re not really supposed to take pics here but uh, Mr Man managed to take this one on his phone before realising he wasn’t supposed to. In fairness, a fair few other people were guilty of doing so too.

Sistine Chapel, Vatican

Also how cool is the exit staircase…?

Exit Stair Case, Vatican MuseumExit Ceiling, Vatican Museum

From one staircase to the next, we headed back to St Peter’s Basilica to climb to the top of the dome.  There are two options, take the lift then climb 330 steps (slightly more expensive, 7Euros) or do the whole thing, something like 550 steps and save a couple of bob, at 5Euros. We opted for the latter, hoping that we’d build an appetite for lunch / just wanted to accomplish something in life, you know?!

First Step, Climbing The Dome, Basilica Di San Pietro, Vatican

A journey of 550 stairs, begins with a single step. (Too cheesy?)

First stop, the interior balcony, it’s even more magnificent up close. It was designed by Michelangelo, but due to his death, he was unable to see it through.

Inside The Dome, Basilica Di San Pietro, VaticanSermon, Basilica Di San Pietro, Vatican

And so, so big, we’re talking 40+ in diameter.

Looking Down At The Church, Basilica Di San Pietro, VaticanLooking Down, Chapel, Basilica Di San Pietro, VaticanClimbing Basilica Di San Pietro, Vatican

^ those are pews, so high up that they are almost unrecognisable.

Dome Mosaic, Basilica Di San Pietro, Vatican

^ the detail.

And then, the second set of steps. Boy oh boy, that is where things get pretty tight, winding, claustrophobic, narrow stairs went on, and on, and on. The ceilings got lower and the walls curved inwards. At one point there wasn’t even a hand railing, just a rope on a spiral staircase. I had to have a break and have a KitKat puff of my inhaler. Must be even worse in the summer. I was way too busy praying that with each twist the end would be in sight to remember to take any pics on the way up. However, eventually that ordeal came to an end and it was so worth it (thankfully, the rain had also stopped!):

iPhone Photo, View From Basilica Di San Pietro, VaticanView From The Dome, Basilica Di San Pietro, Vatican

I mean, you’d have never had known that only a few hours ago it was basically monsoon season. Breathtaking. Also, mountains, so picturesque.

Mountain View From Basilica Di San Pietro, VaticanVatican Gardens, VaticanVatican Gardens

^Vatican gardens.

Mr Man’s iPhone pano (he got a bit precious about his phone and needed some coercion to stick it out through the grills to take this pic) and even after all that someone’s fingers are in the shot…:

Panoramic View From Basilica Di San Pietro, Vatican

And, the not so sunny side:

View, Basilica Di San Pietro, VaticanBehind Bars, Looking Out, Basilica Di San Pietro, VaticanLooking Out, Basilica Di San Pietro, Vatican (2)

After drinking in the fresh air, we prepped for the descent.

Narrow Stairs, Basilica Di San Pietro, VaticanNarrow Stairwell, Climbing The Dome, Basilica Di San Pietro, VaticanMade a quick stop at the midway level for a breather after the stifling stairs.

Looking Out, Basilica Di San Pietro, VaticanClimbing Basilica Di San Pietro, Vatican City

And with that, we headed back to Trastevere in Rome, in search of some lunch.

Via delle Fratte di Trastevere, Rome, Italy

I absolutely adore the colourful, pastel buildings with the cute window shutters.

Via di S. Francesco a Ripa, Rome, Italy

We headed to I Suppli, I’d read online that this was the place to be for pizza, and despite the glaring neon green sign, it did not disappoint.

I Suppli, Rome, ItalyI Suppli, Rome, Italy (2)

It’s basically fast food, Italian style. Pick your pizza of choice, say when, and they’ll slice from a huge slab, weigh and heat it up for you. Either grab and go, or, hover around the few small tables (no chairs) and once you’re done, off you potter

We ordered a pea, mushroom and mozzarella arancini to share.

Arancini, I Suppli, Rome, Italy

Twas lovely and crisp with good flavour, interesting choice of long grain rice rather than risotto. I only wish they’d actually heated it!

And four different types of pizza to feast on:

Pizza, I Suppli, Rome, Italy

Crisp, thin based pizza. No chewy crust. (Seriously, someone get me to Naples, because that’s where the beautifully charred, slightly chewy, slow-risen, crusts reside. Or so I hear.) The toppings were amazing. Surprisingly the marinara topped the list with amazing flavour: simple tomato sauce, done well. The potato was also yum, nice bit of carb on carb action. Might need to try and recreate this at some point.

In any case, it was delicious! Thoroughly recommend!

Just as we stepped out, I felt a drop of rain. It got very heavy, very quickly:

Rain, Bus Stop, Rome, Italy

Seeing a cute little gelato parlour, gelateria del viale, we headed in.

Gelato At Gelateria del Viale, Rome, Italy

I wanted to try them ALL. It took me forever to decide on flavours, Mr Man, however narrowed down on his selections: pistachio (personally, never been a fan, but he loves it) and hazelnut (dreamy).

Hazelnut & Pistachio Gelato, Gelateria del Viale, Rome, Italy

About four years later, I decided I’d opt for the cherry swirl (true love) and dark chocolate + hazelnut (tasted even better than it sounds).

Cherry Swirl And Chocolate Hazelnut Gelato, Gelateria del Viale, Rome, Italy

With the rain showing no sign of ceasing anytime soon, in fact, getting heavier with thunder and lightening, we headed back to the flat to dry off and, obvs, rather predictably, Mr Man decided it was an opportune time for a nap.

Rain On The Terrace, Air BnB, Rome, ItalyRainfall, AirBnb, Rome, Italy

Later that night we popped out to find some dinner, basically only walking a few metres from our doorsteps, to avoid being soaked to the skin again, to a little family owned place called, Al Biondo Tevere. We were the only ones there for the first half of our meal.

Al Biondo Tevere da Vincenzo, Rome, Italy

Feeling a little ill, and in need of some vitamins, I ordered an orange juice, Mr Man followed with the fizzier equivalent.

Drinks, Al Biondo Tevere da Vincenzo, Rome, ItalyCultery & Glassware, Al Biondo Tevere da Vincenzo, Rome, Italy

First up, starters, the bruschetta was perfect. Peppery olive oil drizzled over juicy, fresh tomatoes on toasted bread. So simple, so good.

Bruschetta Al Pomodoro, Al Biondo Tevere da Vincenzo, Rome, Italy

The fried pumpkin flower was so so. The batter was decent but I think they needed to have changed the oil it was fried in.

Fiore Di Zucca, Al Biondo Tevere da Vincenzo, Rome, Italy

Mr Man’s tomato pasta was perfect, a great, balanced, tomato sauce. So good.

Fettuccine Al Sugo, Al Biondo Tevere da Vincenzo, Rome, Italy

The mushroom pasta was also pretty damn good, however, I did expect a cream based sauce and was left slightly disappointed.

Fettuccine Ai Funghi Porcini, Al Biondo Tevere da Vincenzo, Rome, Italy

For dessert, Mr Man picked a cherry tart which he thoroughly enjoyed. I went for the affogato which was basically just magical. Still dreaming of this bad boy. Vanilla and chocolate ice cream, topped with meringue, with an espresso poured over the top.

Affogatto, Al Biondo Tevere da Vincenzo, Rome, Italy

The perfect end to my meal, and my day.

– Kay

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