Rome – Day 2

Location | Malu Bed & Breakfast – Rome

The morning began with the usual breakfast at Maria’s aptly named “Cafe Nobel” in the main lobby of the bed & breakfast. She gave us croissants filled with fresh custard w/ a subtle orange zest flavour & ample powdered sugar. Then there was the banana with Nutkao (another non-Nutella brand of hazelnut spread), strawberry yogurt, & a fresh cup of foamy cappuccino w/ chocolate powder on top.

Then it was time to head out. We walked around the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore toward Via Nazionale to do a little bit of shopping. I had it in my mind that I’d buy myself some Italian tennis shoes, but unfortunately I haven’t been able to find ones that I like. We made our way to Campo de’Fiori, an outdoor market south of Piazza Navona. There we sampled cheeses, looked at fresh fruits and vegetables and purchased some €5 Italia t-shirts. Then was a delicious fruit-cup for €3 that contained 2 types of melons, pineapple, nectarines, and yellow watermelon.

Produce at Campo De'Fiori

Produce at Campo De'Fiori

After that we walked toward Corso Vittoria Emmanuelle II (a major street) and stopped at a stationary store where Ngoc and I promptly purchased more notebooks than we probably should’ve even thought to purchase… especially since we would have to carry them for the rest of the day.

Finally we bought a bus ticket, but not before playing a game of “how do you say bus ticket in Italian?” charades with an old Italian woman in a tabacchi.

A side note, there are 4 types of bus tickets in Rome and they are as follows (info from

  • Biglietto semplice B.I.T. (time integrated ticket)
    Price: 1,00 Euro
    B.I.T. tickets can be used on any means of transport in Rome; they are valid for 75 minutes and the visitor can take any transport mean to reach the preferred destination during the 75 minutes time. Tickets needs to be stamped when starting the travel; if the visitor takes the metro, then the ticket needs to be stamped a second time.
  • Biglietto giornaliero B.I.G. (one-day ticket)
    Price: 4,00 Euro
    Valid 24 hours on any means of transport, it must be stamped only one time (when starting the travel); in case the visitor use the metro, the ticket must be exhibited to the controller at the entrance of the metro line.
    !WARNING: this ticket is valid untill the midnight (of the day it had been stamped)
  • Biglietto per 3 giorni B.T.I. ( 3-days tourist integrated ticket)
    Price: 11,00 Euro
    It is valid for 3 days in a row on any public means. It has to be stamped just once when starting the travel and exhibited to the controller at the entrance of the metro line.
  • Biglietto settimanale C.I.S. (tourist one-week integrated ticket)
    Price: 16,00 Euro
    It is valid for 7 days in a row and it has the same terms of use like the B.T.I., only the owner must write on the card his/her own name.

If I had known clearly about these bus tickets, I might not have walked across the whole city. In day 1 we walked at least 8 miles (I mapped it out with the running mapper).

Anyway, that was just a side note. After we received the correct bus ticket (at €1 per ride) we went to the Vatican. Across the city and over the Tiber River. We arrived just outside of Piazza San Pietro, also known as St. Peter’s Square. Well, St. Peter’s Square is not a square at all, by the way. It’s a big rounded circle with columns all around. At one end you have the post office & gift shop, and at one the security entrance to the basilica.

We went around 11pm and the line through security wasn’t too bad. Then we had to go through the “clothing inspection.” Remember, the Vatican has rules where you have to keep your shoulders covered and your skirt cannot be too short (or you can’t wear short-shorts). I had a shoulder covering, but I had assumed my dress, which ended a little above my knees would pass. Total fail. Except, this girl with an exceptionally short skirt in front of me goes through. I on the other hand… pulled my leggings out of my bag and pulled them on right in front of a ton of tourists.

Then finally we were let through and we got into some sort of line… which we did not know what it was for. Also, no one in line spoke English when I was saying “Hey!? What is this line for!? Does anyone speak English? What’s this line for?” Fortunately we found out only a few minutes later that it was the line to enter the dome above St. Peter’s Basilica.

Finally we got through to go to Basilica Papale di San Pietro in Vaticano, also known as St. Peter’s Basilica. Needless to say, the basilica is an amazing and very impressive looking building. Inside was even better. The dome rises 448ft from the ground. Intricately decorated with beautiful paintings, priceless sculptures, it is a simple breathtaking basilica.

The dome in St. Peter's Basilica

The dome in St. Peter's Basilica

The lighting is dark inside, so the pictures I have are quite blurry (I have shaky hands, not good for a slow shutter that needs a lot of light).

After exiting St. Peter’s Basilica we entered back into St. Peter’s Square where we were able to get a view of the Swiss Guard. Despite their “clown-like appearance,” their uniforms make them look quaint.

We found that because the Vatican is it’s own sovereign state, they have their own post office. Ngoc and I bought a few postcards and stamps (but not before I spazzed out and accidentally made my money go everywhere in front of the Vatican postal worker). He jokingly told me I was too dangerous with money.

Mailing some postcards

Mailing some postcards

Then it was time to go see the Sistine Chapel. The entrance to the Vatican museums is located 800m from exiting St. Peter’s Square – therefore if exit from St. Peter’s Basilica, walk through the square, around the Vatican walls to the entrance to the museums… it’s probably a km overall.

We walked about halfway when we spotted gelato at Old Bridge Gelateria. Of course we stopped for some.

We finally made it to the Vatican Museum entrance where we had to go through security once again… and we found a bag check. At the bag check the guys were completely flirting with us. Guys are not shy in Italy. We even got asked out for the evening, but promptly ignored them. Guys in Italy must go on dates all the time… especially with female tourists ha.

Don’t forget your student ID folks, you save €6 (which is about US$9).

So then began our trek through the Vatican museums. I hadn’t realized how extensive their collections on display were. It was corridor after corridor, room after room of amazing treasures the Vatican had collected or conquered and placed on display. Overall it probably took us about 3 hours to make it through the museum. Keep in mind that the museum closes at 6pm.

Posing inside the Vatican

Posing inside the Vatican

We finished at the Sistine Chapel at 5:30pm. We sat for a little bit. They shut the doors right after we entered. The ceiling was just beautiful! I can’t imagine how much had gone into creating the intricate colours, lines, etc that Michaelangelo brought to life. Oh and you’re not allowed to take any pictures inside, but I got off a few shots. One of which is not completely blurry. Shhh.

Stolen Sistine Chapel Picture

Stolen Sistine Chapel Picture

When we exited, we realized we had to go get our stuff… but we were back at St. Peter’s Basilica! In a dazed rush we ran around asking employees how to get back to the front of the museum, but we were informed to “Go out of St. Peter’s Square, go 800km around the wall… the museum closes in 15 minutes… RUN!”


We booked it. Past the Korean tourist group we had already passed TWICE… running out of the front of St. Peter’s Basilica, down the steps, running through the Square, around the corner, running down the streets next to the Vatican wall until the point I was about to collapse. Ngoc was the hero of the day, she managed to run the entire way. I walked about 200m before running again.

Ngoc made it just in time. Bags secured, but hunger ensued.

We took the bus back (and to our dismay the bus stopped and the driver got out for about 10 minutes… apparently that was the “starting point” of the bus, so they get out for a little break). We watched a great view on the bus featuring a little boy trying to toss a cat into a fountain. Cat jumps onto fountain ledge, little boy falls into fountain.

We made it back to the main part of Rome and got off the bus to go eat at Pizzeria Montecarlo. Let me tell you – GREAT PIZZA! I ordered the Montecarlo pizza which featured a sunny side up egg, olives, onion and tomato. Ngoc ordered a pesto pasta – which was delicious. We were very happy campers.

MonteCristo Pizza

MonteCarlo Pizza

Afterwards we went to Il Gelato di San Crispino for a delicious concoction of gelato. We sat near the fountain in front of the Pantheon and just took in the atmosphere. After finishing we decided we wanted more gelato… so off we went to Gelateria Della Palma, another famous gelateria in Rome. We went back to the Pantheon to finish our second gelato in 20 minutes. Then we decided that we’d walk back to our bed & breakfast.

Overall, it was a beautiful day and I can’t wait to put my pictures up!

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08 2009

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  1. marion #

    wow you ate a lot of gelato! 3 times in one day is very greedy

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