Visited St Peter's Basilica

I didn't want to miss the Vatican Museums and St Peter's, so we booked advance tickets for the Vatican musuem (through the Vatican itself) and skipped a HUGE line of people waiting to buy tickets.

The museum was huge and really quite overwhelming.

After a reviving lunch (and some gelato) we got in line to go in to St Peter's.

This was the empty plaza when we walked by first thing in the morning:

The colonnades are incredible - they're so imposing.

Notice the little apostles on the roof of the basilica - you'll see them again shortly!

We decided to climb to the top of the dome, because Charlie always likes to climb to the highest thing around (Eiffel Tower, Domtoren in Utrecht, Bunker Hill monument, etc).

It was pretty incredible. This is the view of the inside of the dome from half way up:

And down, through the wire...eek!

And across. It was enormous - look how tiny the people on the right hand side are.

304 more steps (500+ in total):

As we got closer to the top, the shape of the stairway went really strange - we were climbing up between the walls of the dome so the walls were at an angle. Charlie is standing pretty much straight in this picture:

Result. Gorgeous views over Rome.

Hello Pope Francis!

There are the apostles again:

And a gratuitous Model Rome shot (because I love the tilt-shift mode on my camera):

These statues were huge (apparently Christ is 19ft tall - more info here) and right on the edge.

I highly recommend the climb - it was really rewarding (and helped work off a bit of the pasta)!