Day two in Rome was dedicated to visiting the Vatican Museums. Otherwise known as “the human cattle herd halls.” Before going into the Vatican Museums, I wasn’t fully aware what they were. After going into the Vatican Museums, I’m still not fully aware what they are.
All I know, is that the Vatican Museums are endless, and most people (myself included) visit just to see the Sistine Chapel.
I’ll admit after finally making it into the Sistine Chapel, it was not what I expected. The famous painting of Adam touching fingers with God took up only a small portion of the ceiling, but all this time I thought it was the majority of the ceiling. I sneakily took the above photo despite the “no photos” rule. I’m glad I took the photo, because I felt so rushed and crammed into the building I could hardly appreciate the ceiling while inside.
The walk to get to the chapel was packed wall to wall in each room we passed through. It was intense, it was hot, and it was a lot of things I didn’t care much to see. I’m not a museum person, so this was a bit of a struggle. Some of the art work was amazing and I don’t regret going into the museum, I just don’t think it would have been something I would have prioritized had I not been with my mom.
Alas, even she agreed it was not a necessary visit.
The line to get into the museums is long…really long…so I purchased our tickets online with a time slot months before we went. I can’t recommend this enough for anyone else interested in visiting Rome/Vatican Museums. If you don’t buy your tickets in advance prepare to wait a few hours to get in.
We passed by St. Peter’s Basilica to get to the museum where I saw the most disturbing sight.
A scruffy looking man who I’d presume might be homeless, was bent over a flock of pigeons eating what looked like a saltine cracker. I was curious what he was doing, so I looked his way and watched as he let crumbs fall from his mouth onto the ground. I thought to myself, “how nice, he is feeding the birds.” Just as this thought passed through my brain, the man reached out with the quickness of a cheetah and GRABBED one of the pigeons.
Pigeon in hand the man walked off as if nothing happened. I can only imagine what he was going to do with the pigeon, and I tried to tell myself he was just hungry and needed to eat, but the process of what I saw freaked me out. I also don’t think pigeons are the cleanest of animals, but I suppose hunger has no limits and I now just feel sad for him.
Rome has an intense homeless problem, and it was sad to see. I suppose this happens with bigger cities, but since living in Europe I haven’t really seen many homeless people until arriving in Rome. This was another thing about Rome that surprised me and shattered the “Romantic Rome” vision I had in my head. After dinner the previous night I had leftovers, and while walking the streets a man asked for my food. Without hesitation I handed my box to him.
After the Vatican Museums we made our way to lunch at a local cafe, where no one inside spoke English except us. Our adorable waiter spoke great English, but apologized to us for not speaking more fluently in English. Are you joking!? HE apologized to ME for not speaking MY language in HIS country. It was love at first word. I ate a delicious salad before walking my mom back to our Air B & B.
By this point, my mom had seen all she wanted to see, so I took off solo for a bit to explore more of the city. I headed towards the Colosseum and Roman Forum, where I had purchased tickets in advance as well. This is another place buying tickets ahead of time is highly recommended. Stay tuned for my next post about my visit to these two amazing historical locations.
Q: What would you have thought/felt after seeing the man and the pigeon? I literally cannot look at pigeons the same way…