Today was another busy day. We started after breakfast with a tour of the Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica. All three were amazing. We were not able to take pictures in the Sistine Chapel. Japan actually owns the copyrights for this chapel so they have banned any photography, instead you can buy it in the gift shop. Pictures were allowed in the other two. When going through St. Peter's, we learned that there are no paintings in this building. Everything that was created on the ceilings and walls were done with mosaics so color won't fade and pictures are permitted.
After our tours we broke out into groups. Some decided to go have lunch and do some shopping, some wanted to take more time in the Basilica, and a large group of us went to the top of the dome of the Basilica. Most walked the 551 steps to the top to get a panoramic view of Rome. The first stop was half way up and a view on the inside of the dome to the Basilica below. The second stop was the top and outside for the views. Breathtaking views and even though it was 5:30 am at home, some kids took the opportunity to call or FaceTime with their families from the top. Then another 551 steps to the bottom.
After returning to the hotel for a short break and to freshen up, we loaded up and headed to city center of Rome. There we did a walking tour with our tour guide Luca to see the Pantheon, the Trevei Fountain (throwing a coin from your right hand over your left shoulder into the fountain means you will one day return to Rome), and the Spanish steps (actually a gift from France for people to travel to church). Shopping in an upscale neighborhood was also enjoyed during this time.
Dinner tonight was another 3 course meal of pasta, salad, pork, potatoes, and fruit for dessert at Restaurant Re Deli Amici in city center. Then off to the hotel for one last night.
The kids have been great. We have received many compliments from people on how polite they were and how prepared they were with the music. This has truly been an experience of a lifetime for these kids and the chaperones.
Tomorrow we head home. See you soon Springfield!