The best way to experience Rome and Vatican City is on foot and early in the morning. Start with a cappuccino at any of the city’s numerous coffee shops. Enjoy the cappuccino standing at the counter elbow to elbow with the locals. It’s the best way to prepare for a walk around Rome. Rome is full of twisted sidewalks that open to hidden squares. among them is Campo de Fiori. Campo de Fiori is a favorite of Father George Rutler who would spend many mornings walking through the market picking out food for his evening meal. The hidden squares, or piazzas, evolve as the day wears on, from morning markets to afternoon stalls selling artwork of the famous city. Nestled in every square is a beautiful fountain surprising even the most jaded tourist with an unexpected moment of beauty.
Father Rutler studied nearby at the Angelicum, and in many ways, the city has not changed in the years since, nor has the vibrancy faded from the days of his youth. Once Campo de Fiori has been explored the next step is to head north along the Tiber River towards Vatican City. The river cuts through the city providing bearing and access to some of the most famous sites. The walk to Vatican City takes about twenty minutes, but only if there are no stops along the way to admire the breathtaking scenery. Vatican City is the home of the Catholic Church, and the Holy See, it is a walled City easily spotted despite being tucked inside Rome. A fantastic stop along the way is the small post office. The post office is the perfect place for sending cards and letters from Vatican City to loved ones back home. Depending on the day, Vatican City can be abuzz with activity as the Pope prepares for an outdoor Mass or an audience with his flock. On other days Vatican City can be quiet and provide an opportunity for reflection. Precious moments of quiet reflection can be had at St. Peter’s Basilica. In the morning, as the sun rises the light streaming into St. Peter’s Basilica is simply majestic. A tour is required to see the Sistine Chapel. During the tour, the lights are kept low and even in the bustle of a tour group silence fills the room as people enter and see one of the greatest works of art in history. Allow for time to enjoy this masterpiece to take in the grandeur, and sit with the importance of the place.
Finish off a perfect morning in Rome with a long, lazy, lunch at an outdoor café. The finest sandwiches, pizzas, plates of pasta, and bowls of clams or mussels can be enjoyed at even the most simple, modest venues. Slow down and enjoy the scenery and the delicious food. Enjoying a delicious meal while people-watching is one of Rome’s oldest pastimes, and allows for the rhythm of the city to be savored.