Alright, step one! Did you know you can go to the top of the dome of St. Peter's Basilica? Me neither. And what do I mean by the top? Well...basically as high as you can safely go. I paid 7 euro to take the elevator up there, and got to the first level, which is inside the dome. But of course, you have to start OUTSIDE, once you get up there:
The inside of the basilica, looking out.
This is what those breathtaking mosaics look like up close!
The dome...so beautiful!
OKAY! Mind-blowing perspective time. Those little tan squares WAAAY down there?
Those are chairs.
Onward, to...the Cupola?
*this is the part of the show where Clare chickens out*
I admit it. Misinformed, I believed that if I went up those stairs, I would end up back inside the Basilica and have to look down at that floor from even HIGHER inside.
The thought is still terrifying.
So I copped out.
But I didn't miss out on everything!
And now, on to the Vatican Museum, where our tour of the Vatican Gardens would begin! Eep!
Our guide was the funniest Italian lady. After every single sentence, she would say, "Mm?" For example. "So this is a model of the Vatican City, Mm?" It was so cute and funny, we were all kind of making fun of it because it just stood out to us so well.
Fun fact! Pope Bl. John Paul II used to use the Vatican Gardens for exercising, so until this year, no one ever took tours of the place. I can see why he loved it...it is just absolutely BEAUTIFUL!
That might be the oldest thing I saw; very ancient, very epic Greek mosaic that you can't even walk on...you have to look into the room from outside!
Orange trees are everywhere in Italy. So epic.
First satellite dish ever made. Cool, huh? If you think about it, it's kind of an eye-sore in the garden, but being the first satellite dish and all, they keep it around.
First radio tower, too!
CHECK THE FROGS!!!
Jaun Diego and the Bishop of Mexico! Great picture.
The Vatican has one of these bells made once every 20 years. This one was made in 2000; the next one will be made in 2020!
That, my friends, is a PARROT'S NEST. Oh yes.
And that, my friends, is where the Vatican Garden's groundskeeper lives. Can you imagine being lucky enough to LIVE there!?
A gorgeous fountain...this thing was actually gross and filled with moss and algae until about 6 months ago when it was cleaned out. It's huge!
Oh my gosh. This was so cool. I literally felt like I'd stepped back in time to the ancient Greeks...
Beautiful flowers lining the walk on our way out.
Roman bust alert!
I want this wall in my yard...
And that's the end of Part 1! Part 2: The Vatican Museum, coming soon!