Continuing my Roman outfit post theme – this one is a little more literal. We've gone from Roman Holiday to Sparticus. But obviously a wee bit more glam.
This Odylyne dress was the perfect outfit to wear to The Vatican. I thought it highly appropriate, especially paired with my Odylyne bolero/shawl type thingy (<<< clearly down with my fashion lingo).
Whilst I was appropriately dressed. No one else seemed to give a flying snicker doodle about the dress code. I spotted shorts, mini skirts, wife beaters and crop tops. I heard the new Pope was progressive, but this was beyond. I guess I didn't need to worry so much about whether my dress was too sheer…
It was actually my fourth visit to the Vatican and third viewing of the Sistine Chapel, and it was Mr Style's first. Sadly for him it was ruined by what felt like a conveyor belt of tourists and tour groups. We walked through the museums zombi-fied, at a snails pace but in a crowd so thick we couldn't even see anything. My last visit, ten years ago was much more peaceful. Time to ban tour groups me thinks.
- Buy tickets in advance. There's absolutely no reason to wait in line. There are plenty of lines inside.
- Morning visits, or the last visit of the day are less hectic. Unless you go in June. And then it's always chaos.
- Apparently don't worry too much about the dress code but for traditions sake at least cover your knees and bring a shawl in case enforcement is entirely arbritrary.
Left: Really not kidding. Right: Views from the Vatican.
4. Don't go expecting serenity. The most peaceful spot in the Vatican is cafeteria. I'm not kidding.
5. It's really hard to avoid the tour groups. So find an English speaking one and do a ride along.
6. Avoid the people outside the Vatican and in Piazza San Pietro trying to sell you a tour (they'll try and catch you by asking if you speak English and 100 of them will ask you. If you do want a tour you can get an official one and buy a ticket in advance on the Vatican Website – this is also a good way of skipping the Basilica San Pietro heinous lines. There are also audio guides available for rent for 7 Euros.
7. Don't skip the Borghese apartments or the Modern Art Collection. This is the most interesting part of the Vatican and so many tourists skipped over it to do the "short itinerary" and head straight to the Sistine chapel. Well guess what, you're going to be standing in line for as long as you'd be walking through the rest of the museum, and if you walk through the rest of the museum you get to head straight into the Sistine Chapel.
8. Yes the small dark room you're in is the Sistine Chapel, don't forget to look up.
9. No talking. No photography. As they'll loudly remind you (this only applies to the Sistine Chapel – everywhere else get snap happy – join the throngs of iPhone clutching tourists, I dare you)
I found these statues particularly fascinating, the one on the left reminds me of the man with the bird on his head from Labyrinth and the one on the right is a statue of Luna – a Roman Goddess (or Selene if you fancy the Greek ways instead). A little out of place amidst the fig leaved men (see below) but quite captivating.
1557 Pope Paul IV instituted the practice of putting fig leaves on
statues genitalia. A campaign of "modesty" that lasted 450 years.
Perhaps there would have been a bit less "Catholic Fiddling" had the fig
leaves not been instituted… Curiosity killed the paedophile.
10. Leaving the Vatican is nearly impossible. If you need a quick exit, touch a statue.