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The Vatican State is not just where the Vatican Museum and St. Peter’s Basilica are located, it is also the area around St. John’s Basilica of Lateran or San Giovanni Laterano, the oldest Christian church in Rome and the home church of the Pope on the outer edges of town. The cement pillars in front of the entrance mark the beginning of Vatican control, and there are guards standing nearby as “border control”.

If you are driving to the site, there are also border control booths for cars.

The “Holy Stairs” are located across the street in the plain beige building, where pilgrims climb the 28 marble stairs inside on their knees.

The main entrance to the church is massive

with imposing columns

and intricate sculptures.

Entering on the left side, you see all the booths for confession, some of which had priests

who spoke several languages.

Crossing over to the right into the main part of the church there were huge marble sculptures of all the disciples on both sides.

This is the center section of the church from the front door.

The center is of focus is the “Bishop’s Chair” where the Pope sits to officially become Pope.

The oldest church has the latest technology; on either side of the front door, there are multi language audio guides you can listen to while seated at the screens.

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Today’s post is photographic one, so your eyes get to eat today 🙂

After some wonderful pizza at Bonci/Pizzarium, I went to the other attraction in the area, the Vatican Museum. I had made a reservation online before I arrived, and printed out my voucher, so there was literally no wait to get my ticket. It was well worth the 4 Euro (about $4.50) reservation fee to avoid the line that had no reservations. There are some tours that let you skip the line, so unless you literally want to stand for hours waiting to get inside, either make an online reservation or book one of the tours that give you immediate entrance. Vatican City is surrounded by a huge wall and most transit arriving or departing from this City work, including the LED displays on buses, and drivers who will give you instructions on where to get off for your desired destination:)

(Note that the Roma Pass only includes museums in Rome and this is Vatican City in the Vatican State, not Rome).

You can take the Metro to Cipro for a pizza at Pizzarium, and then walk about 10 minutes, or if you are tired, take a bus from the metro station that gets you closer to the entrance line. Yes, that line is just a small part of the line for entry to the Vatican Museum another two blocks away.

Once you go through security, get your ticket and scan it through the turnstiles, you see this!

A close up at the end of the hallway.

All the ceilings were different.

Even the ceiling above the gift shop was a work of art,

of course, replicas were available as a scarf to take home for about 100 Euros or $110 US.

The museum is massive and you could easily spend all day, so if you are planning on seeing St. Peter’s Basilica and Square on the same day, I highly recommend that you take a break and sit down for bit. I saw tired teenagers plopped down on these rare visitor chairs scattered throughout the section of the museum near the gift shop.

You can head to the cafeteria on the ground floor, get a pizza,

and go outside to enjoy the park, but do not sit or walk on the grass, or the Vatican guards will literally chase you off.

By the end I was too tired to walk down the winding steps, as beautiful as they are, so I took the most exquisite wooden elevator to the exit, along with three people in wheelchairs, their family and caretakers, five other tired people, and two Vatican guards. I’m sorry that I didn’t get a picture of the elevator, but I am not sorry that I did not take photographs inside the Sistine Chapel, respecting Vatican protocol. Remember that as a tourist you are representing your country, so please be diplomatic and follow the customs of the host.

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