Rome and the Vatican City: 7th January 2023

WHERE ARE ROME AND THE VATICAN CITY? Italy's capital city Rome completely surrounds the Vatican City which is one of 24 recognised microstates in the world (i.e. a sovereign state where the population and/or land mass is very small).      

WHAT LANGUAGES  ARE SPOKEN THERE AND WHAT'S THE CURRENCY? The official languages are Italian and Latin, and and the Euro is the currency.

3 INTERESTING FACTS: 1) The Vatican City is the world's smallest country. 2) It doesn't have a prison but it has its own arm and postal service, and it goes through more wine than any other country. 3) Rome has more than 900 churches! 

HOW TO GET THERE? Rome is easily accessible from many countries and there's a direct train taking you to the city centre from where you can join a hop-on hop-off bus. Except for the perimeter wall around much of the Vatican City, you otherwise just walk in so it's bizarre to think that you've just walked into another country! I chose to catch a taxi from the airport to the Vatican City as this was another first flight there / last flight back day trip which I'm sure saved me time once I found the taxi booking office within the airport terminal.  

WHAT DID I DO AND WHAT DID I THINK? First stop was the Vatican City and I'd read that it has its own postal service. If you buy a postcard, you can buy stamps from the post office portacabin in St. Mark's Square. Make sure you pop the postcard in a yellow post-box as then it'll be date-stamped 'Vatican City' rather than from the Italian Postal Service. The queue for the Sistine Chapel was the longest I've ever seen so buy your ticket in advance if you in case you can jump the main queue. I jumped on the hop-on hop-off bus but I quickly abandoned it as the traffic is just awful and much of the city centre is walkable. On my list were the Trevi Fountain, Pantheon, Forum and of course the Colosseum. I bought the Colosseum ticket in advance to avoid disappointment. After heading back into the city centre, I returned at dusk via horse and carriage to see the Colosseum lit up and I'm so glad I did.  

Would I go back? No. It's rare for me to come back feeling a bit meh but it was so full-on in terms of traffic, people trying to sell goods, noise, etc. and I've visited many capital cities! But I'm glad I went. Tick!