Italy is crowded. Rome is more crowded. The Vatican Museum is perhaps the most crowded place in the city (“cities”; Rome and Vatican City combined). We’re here in March; we’ve asked ourselves more than once, “what must it be like here in July?” and today the question got asked again.
We came prepared for it, at least. We booked the early morning “Breakfast at the Vatican” tour, where you arrive before the place opens and enjoy a breakfast buffet before entering the museum before everyone else (in theory).
That was the idea, but in practice—though there was barely a line to get in—here’s what it looked like by the time we got into the museum proper:
Nevertheless, there’s a reason why this is one of the most popular museums in the world. It’s a veritable trove of artistic treasure collected by the world’s most powerful institution over the past millennium.
Of course Molly found the cat amongst all the other tapestries.
And Michelangelo’s masterpiece, the Sistine Chapel, could draw the crowds all by itself (and, truthfully, is probably the main draw for most visitors).
Next door, we visited St. Peter’s Basilica. Though, after the Sistine Chapel—and the many other gorgeous cathedrals we’ve seen on this trip—it was a bit underwhelming (if one can say such a thing about such a place). And everyone but me was totally burned out by the Vatican Museum by the time we made it to St. Peter’s.
We exited through St. Peter’s Square and made it back to our apartment shortly after noon—completely wiped out and done for the day.
Though of course not so done in that Molly didn’t get her gelato of the day.
Here’s a preview of our next and final day in Italy.