Saturday, October 27, 2012


We were up and around early this morning!  We had 11:00 am reservations for a Scavi Tour under St. Peters Basilica.  We wanted to make sure we had time to visit the Basilica before our tour, so we left our apartment at 8, and walked a few blocks to catch a taxi to Vatican City.  Way too far to walk, and public transportation in Rome is not the best.

We found a small cafe for breakfast, and sat at an outside table with a great view of the Vatican City wall.  We each had a very good cappuccino and a chocolate croissant. They were delicious!

A great capuccino and a chocolate croissant:

After our mini-breakfast we walked thru the Vatican Walls and into St. Peter Square to get in the security line for entrance to the basilica.  It was a long line, but actually moved fairly quickly.  Security was just like at the airports--all bags must be x-rayed, and each person walks thru a metal detector.

As I had posted many pictures from the interior of St. Peter's last year, I'll not post many this time around, but here are just a couple of the highlights.

Michelangelo's beautiful Pieta:

The main altar:

The dome above the main altar:

After our time in St. Peter's, we walked out to the portico to rest our feet for a few minutes.  I love this guy!

It was now time for our "Scavi Tour", but first we had to show our reservations to the Swiss Guard:
Then we had to clear security again, having each of our bags visually searched as well as "wanded".
We were then finally allowed to go thru this arch to an inner courtyard where we waited for our guide:

 The Scavi Tour is a tour under the Basilica to the actual tomb of St. Peter. We were close enough to see his actual bones. Unfortunately, no pictures were allowed. Understandable, as we were at the final resting place of the man who the church was literally and figuratively built upon. That was at the end of the tour of the City of Necropolis, a burial city dating to the 4th century (approximately 300 A.D.) It was discovered buried under what is now St. Peter's Basilica when Emperor Constantine was leveling ground to build the church that would be the predecessor of the current Vatican.

Photography was strictly forbidden, so unfortunately don't have any to share with you!  We all agreed that, so far it was the highlight of our time in Rome--truly a memorable experience.

We finished our Scavi Tour about noon, and thought we'd better have a quick bite of lunch, so we left Vatican City and walked a short block to an outdoor cafe.  We each had a delicious panini, and David and I shared a carafe of wine.  We had a great time talking about our amazing Scavi Tour!

Next on our agenda was the Vatican Museum.   Again, same airport-like security routine.
No line at all for tickets, we just walked right up and paid our 15 Euros each--worth every penny, by the way!

Where to start?  We started in large inner courtyard:
  Here's a cool water fountain:

And a wonderful HUGE statue:

We moved inside to visit the many, many rooms of the museum. Again, I posted so many pictures last year, I won't repeat them again, but here are a few of my favorites.

Amazing sculptures:

Beautiful mosaic floors:

Room after room with incredible ornate ceilings:

Dave and I are getting ready to remodel our master bath--I'd LOVE either one of these tubs!

This was an interesting display-a photo of the same painting before restoration on the left, and the actual artwork after on the right.  What an amazing difference!

A fragment from a statue--it was big-probably at least 3 feet long, must have been a HUGE statue!

We were at the end of the maze of rooms in the museum, and they all lead to the Sistine Chapel.  It wasn't quite as crowded as last year, and we were glad about that!  We sat on a bench at one end of the chapel and spent several minutes enjoying that incredible masterpiece.  Photos are not allowed in this chapel, so I don't have any to share with you.

We exited through the gift shop, and down this wonderful spiral staircase:

We came out into an absolute deluge--just raining cats and dogs!  We did have 2 umbrellas between the three of us, but we had not taken our rain jackets because we were going to be inside most of the day and didn't want to carry them around.  Lesson learned: if it calls for a 60% chance of showers--take your rain coat!

We decided we'd walk across the street and sit in a cafe to wait out the storm.  We found a nice place and Matt had a cappuccino and Dave and I shared a carafe of wine.  Again, we sat and relaxed and talked about our amazing day.  I think Matt is liking this sidewalk cafe stuff!

Soon the rain let up a bit,  we walked a few block to find a taxi stand.  Along the way we came across a chestnut vendor, and David decided now was the time to try roasted chestnuts!  Hmmmmm-the texture is somewhat like sawdust, but the flavor is subtle and quite nice.

We found our taxi stand,  lucked out with a very friendly driver, and soon he whisked us across the Tiber river right to our street.  We trudged up those 4 flights of steep stairs, weary but still full of wonder about our amazing day.  

We all pitched in to prepare our dinner of gnocchi with red sauce and reggiano cheese, some delicious romanesco, a loaf of crispy bread and a glass of wine.  This was Matt's first taste of romanesco, and he likes it as much as we do.  Jeanne, I'll think this will be on your dinner table when Matt gets home!

Mmmmmm good:

Here we are, a Lund family dinner:

 Another wonderful day in Rome for the Lunds!

On our agenda for tomorrow--an underground tour of the colosseum, and we'll also visit Palatine Hill, The Arch of Constatine and the Roman Forum.  We are all hoping this rain stops before tomorrow!


  1. Once again, great photos and yummy meals. My favorite picture of your journey, so far, was the partial statue of the foot in the sandal. I would love to draw this - when you come home maybe I could get a print of it? How are the Italian wines? I've heard they are wonderful. It's cold and dreary here today and a major storm is expected to hit the East Coast. You guys look like the perfect family. Enjoy, enjoy!

  2. Great pictures and looks like you had a wonderful day inspite of the rain. Love the picture of you and Matt.