Too much to see, so little time. Actually, I'm glad I'm leaving tomorrow. This place is too tiring.
Today I went to the Palatine Hill, the Roman Forum, Capital Hill, and back to the Vatican for a tour of the Museum and Sistine Chapel.
The Palatine Hill just to the south west of the Colosseum contains remains of ancient Rome. What surprised me most here was how much of ancient Rome was built using a bricks and mortar style construction. The area is massive (at least about 20 acres) and most of the remains are that style of construction. Large stones were used sparingly.
The Roman Forum just north of the Palatine Hill is a very busy place with plenty of different ruins crammed close together (I guess it's like the modern day Rome). There are also a few active digs in this area. From what I understand they happen as funding becomes available.
From the Forum I went up to Capital Hill where some good views of the city, and the ruins. I also found a unique church. Then I grabbed a late lunch and headed over to the Vatican. The line up to the Vatican Museum wasn't that long, but there were plenty of people inside the museum. The museum is massive like the Louvre, so I tried to do quick trip through to the Sistine Chapel. However, due to the way they route you through the museum and the large crowds it's hard to take many short cuts.
The rooms leading up to the Sistine Chapel were filled with impressive paintings that get better as you approach the Chapel. To me the Chapel itself was a bit of a let down. I liked the paintings leading up to the Chapel more than those in the Chapel. That may have been because the Chapel was absolutely packed with people, many who had absolutely no respected for there surrounding and the others visiting it.
The Chapel is supposed to be a place of silence and no photography, yet many people ignored those instructions. The security staff and the PA system kept telling people to be silent and don't take any photos, in several languages, yet once the announcements where over many people went right back at it again. One lady next to me was an excellent example of this. She just wouldn't shut up! I singled to her to be quiet, she just said something to me, which I couldn't understand, and then went right on talking again to those around her. Kind of sad, I guess.
Here's a few photos from the Palatine hill.
That's St. Peter's Basilica off in the distance to the right of the trees.
Here's the view of Circus Maximus (grassy area to the right), not much to see here.
One of the active digs in the area.
A couple photos from the busy Roman Forum area.
Inside of St Maria Aracoeli Basilica. This is the first time I see chandeliers in a church.
Inside the Vatican Museum.
Painted rooms leading up to the Sistine Chapel.
Dinner tonight was somewhat different. I've been trying a different restaurant every night, and usually by chance end up at a place with a lot of English speaking tourists. That didn't happen tonight. I think I was the only English person in the Italian restaurant, fortunately the staff knew just enough English for me to get a decent meal.
As mentioned yesterday, I will be catching a train to Venice tomorrow morning. Stay tuned for details from there.