My friends and I did the Vatican City tour the second day we were in Rome.

HEAR FROM ME RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW: book your Vatican Museums ticket in advance. We resorted to group tours when we found out that the security lines to the Vatican Museum and St. Peter’s Square were ridiculously long (it was a really hot day, mind you) and the group tour wasn’t cheap. Though the tour guide was incredibly informative, and it was helpful to have a guide because it was really crowded and confusing inside, it’s still a lot cheaper to book the tickets in advance. A lot.

I got to see amazing artworks including Raphael’s School of Athens, Laocoön and His Sons, the Pietà, and the fresco by Michelangelo in the Sistine Chapel (no photography inside, unfortunately). It was an incredible experience to see with my own eyes all these artworks that I learned about in art history classes.

Also, St. Peter’s Basilica was as grand as I imagined it to be.

Here’s a fun way to enjoy the Vatican City (and Rome) differently: watch Angels & Demons (starring Tom Hanks and Ewan McGregor) before and/or right after you visit these two places. It’s pretty cool to see all these places you saw in real life inside a movie. Great way to appreciate the settings within a movie.

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