June 4, 2012, my final day in Rome, was devoted mostly to Vatican City. The charming, family-run hotel where I was staying was only a few blocks away, so it was an easy walk. I’d known to reserve my tickets ahead of time to avoid the lines, so even though it was crowded, I didn’t have to wait too terribly long.
The Vatican did not disappoint. The architecture was breathtaking, and the artwork even more so: Michelangelo’s Pieta, the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, and the countless treasures of the Vatican museums. I’m so glad I decided to climb to the top of the dome. What a fascinating experience! Climbing to the top gives an extraordinary view of the inner workings of the building, with the narrow, curved corridors and hundreds of stairs, including a tiny spiral staircase near the very top. And the views of Rome from the top are just glorious!