Popes and Gladiators 

Day Sixteen

Today was an early day with a 5am wake-up call. It was going to be a big day with a tour of the Vatican! We walked over to the Via Nazionale to hail a taxi. Driving through the still mostly slumbering city, we made our way to Piazza del Risorgimento to meet our walking tour group. Without too much traffic on the road, we arrived with plenty of time to spare. Spurred by empty stomachs, we tried to follow the signs for McDonald’s. Unable to find the golden arches, we stopped in a local cafe taking a more authentic approach to breakfast. I ordered a pastry and tea while Barbara enjoyed a coffee.


Our walking tour began at 7:15. We were introduced to our guide and made our way towards the Vatican. Once we were inside we made our way as quickly as possible to the Sistine Chapel to beat the crowd. Michelangelo really did an astonishing job on the frescoes! I am so happy we were able to visit and marvel the artwork with such a limited crowd. Our group then went back to the beginning of the museum to view what we had missed. We spent about three hours touring the museums before we made our way into St. Peter’s Basilica. Unfortunately, a good portion of it was closed off for a VIP group. Fear not, we still had plenty to see! After snapping our pictures we headed out of the Vatican in search of sustenance. Ironically, we found the McDonald’s we had been searching for earlier in the morning. The McDonald’s was probably the nicest I have ever been in. It made the McDonald’s back home look grungy and outdated. We continued around the corner to Caffe Sant Anna. It is completely overpriced and the service was not that great, however, the pizza I had was delicious!



After satiating our hunger, we headed back to the Piazza del Risorgimento to grab a taxi. Returning to the apartment, we settled in for an afternoon nap. At 5 o’clock we headed out to visit the Colosseum. Waiting until later in the day was an excellent idea of Barbara’s to avoid some of the usual crowd. I must admit the structure was smaller than I had imagined, however, it was nonetheless extraordinary to be standing in such a historic place.



Making our way back to the apartment, we waited for a more acceptable time for dinner. Strolling down the street we picked a random restaurant, Suburra 1930. We were seated promptly and then proceeded to order spaghetti carbonara and the Su burger. My burger was a bit unique, sporting hummus as a topping. Unfortunately, Barbara’s pasta arrived cold. Following dinner, I popped into a gelateria for a cone of chocolatey goodness. It was the perfect ending to a wonderful day.

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