Rome Day 16 / Making the last moments count

Here we are, our last day in Rome. We woke up wondering what to do, and decided it would be a good day to search for souvenirs, considering we didn’t have anything worthwhile to bring home just yet. We started out at one of the markets in the south area of Rome. There wasn’t much more there than clothing, but I got a couple fun handbags really cheap. One street guy tried to talk Terry into buying a watch. When Terry finally walked away, he shouted “Hey Rambo, come back!”

We hopped back on the subway and returned to Via Cola di Rienzo where we found a little souvenir shop (believe it or not, a rarity in Rome as most of the street peddlers sell trinkets) where we loaded up on cheap t-shirts and magnets. I also got a pretty multicolor glass dish for my windowsill and a couple of “Gatti di Roma” (Cats of Rome) mini calendars for some friends.

We made our way back to the B&B to drop off packages and have a quick lunch nearby. Faced with nothing planned for the afternoon, the one thing we hadn’t yet done was tour the inside of St. Peter’s Basilica. We still had a few hours left in the day so we decided to make our way down there and we are really glad we did!

Once again we joined throngs of people to enter the cathedral. The line was crazy – hundreds of feet long and 20+ people wide. There was this group of little old ladies that were all holding hands and being surprisingly pushy – even bullying! Eventually we made it into the church, and as it turned out the wait was only about 20 minutes total. We walked through the enourmous structure and were amazed – it is the largest religious structure in the world. Even though we had been in over 10 churches and cathedrals this trip, St. Peter’s was astonishing. The works of art, the beauty of its structure, the enormous organ and the individual sculptures were all breathtaking.

There are over 100 tombs in St. Peter’s – mostly former Popes and other saints, including Pope John Paul II. Because it was the end of the day they had already closed the area leading to St. Peter’s remains (Peter being the very first Pope), so we never did get to see them, but we did get to see Michelangelo’s single signed work – his Pieta. It was enclosed behind bullet-proof glass because a lunatic had stormed in a few years back and started attacking it with an axe. Still, the work was amazing.

We didn’t have time to climb the stairway to the top of the dome, but our legs would be thankful for it. We had climbed plenty of stairs this trip – between that and the uneven cobblestone streets our ankles had gotten plenty of action.

After our visit to St. Peter’s we went back to the area of the B&B and enjoyed our final Roman dinner at La Fornace. I had the Caprese and Margherita pizza and enjoyed every last bite. Somehow I don’t think it will be the same back home in the States. Our flight leaves at 10:30 tomorrow morning so we decided to make it an early night.

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