This morning we woke up early and asked the concierge for a taxi to St. Peter's Basilica. We arrived early for the Scavi Tour so we walked around St. Peter's Square and then visited the Basilica. It was so beautiful to walk around without crowds and without camera's going off everywhere.
We then made our way over to the archaeological department and checked in for our tour. Our group of 15 were lead inside and I don't want to give away too much about the tour because I think it's something everyone should experience but you see some diagrams, the actual Necropolis (mausoleums of Romans), artwork, tiles, and finally arrive at the tomb of St. Peter. The tour ends in the middle of the Grotto.
Tip: to book this tour visit http://www.vatican.va/roman_curia/institutions_connected/uffscavi/documents/rc_ic_uffscavi_doc_gen-information_20090216_en.html
Tip while on the tour: It says it right on the site if you are claustrophobic, or have problems with warmth of low oxygen levels don't chance the tour. It can truly disrupt your experience and those around you. Be respectful, don't take pictures, don't crack jokes, and don't pretend that you know everything. It's okay to be new to this information, it's okay to be in awe, and it's okay to just listen and learn.
After the tour we wanted to head back into the museums as fast as possible so we decided to just grab a quick bite to eat in the museum. Big mistake! The food is below average, cold, and not worth it! The last time we visited the museums we were inundated with crowds inside the Sistine Chapel. This time we were fortunate that it was a light day and could take time to look around, experience and enjoy the amazing work of art. In addition to this Greg was enthralled that he finally got to see the doorway to the "Room of Tears" ("the new pope goes to the "Room of Tears", a small red room next to the Sistine Chapel. The pope dresses by himself, choosing a set of pontifical choir robes (white cassock, rochet and red mozzetta) from three sizes provided. Then, he vests in a gold corded pectoral cross and a red embroidered stole. He wears a white zucchetto on his head.")
As we walked from the Vatican to our hotel (in the rain), we walked past the Castel Sant'Angelo, the Tiber River, and Gelateria Del Teatro. I had read so many great reviews about this Gelateria that we wound through many side streets to find it. The flavors we chose were Chocolate and wine (dairy free) and Sage and Raspberry. Both flavors were bold and inventive unfortunately, both gelato's were icy and not up to par.
Our room wasn't ready yet when we got back to our hotel so we went up to the Rooftop Bar and ordered a couple of drinks. Lorca was also happy to make dinner reservations for us in the hotels Rooftop Restaurant. Finally, we headed to our room to rest and then freshen up.
The Rooftop Restaurant of Hotel Artemide offers a casual atmosphere, easy going service, and fabulous food. Both Greg and I felt that the food is actually worthy of more formality. For the full review visit http://wanderlusthearts.weebly.com/rome-italy.html
We ended the night back in our room for a night cap and some cookies from Il Fornaio.