An early start to get out to Vatican City in time for our tour (chosen based on reviews by Lonely Planet). Our guide was a short, slightly balding Irishman named Dara, with a definite sense of humour.
Three hours of walking later and we'd seen the Raphael Rooms, the Sistine Chapel and the Basilica of St Paul punctuated by historical tidbits (did you know Michaelangelo painted a cardinal who criticised his painting of Judgement Day as the Devil, or that one pope had 6 children during his reign?) and amusing comments from the guide ("the Italians have made up a new sport - standing around in the smallest possible thoroughfare, which is what we see here...").
The tour wasn't all fabulous though, mainly due to the blatant disrespect for the rules (is it really so hard to cover your shoulders and knees in line with the dress code, take photos without a flash, or keep quiet in the Sistine Chapel?) and the rude people on our tour. Prime examples of the latter were the French couple who kept cutting in front of G and not looking where they were going, and the rude heavyweight woman who kept smacking into me because (even though I was right behind the person in front of me, usually G), I wasn't moving fast enough for her.
After the tour ended, we decided we would climb the Basilica (well, we took the elevator halfway, then climbed the rest of the way). The spiral staircase was a little disconcerting (being afraid of heights) but the sloping sides around the dome proved more of a challenge for G than me (I didn't even have to duck to get through, but he had to squeeze through some parts).
Afterwards, we had lunch a short walk from the Vatican (a very ordinary pizza) and headed back to Termini to book a reservation on the train to Venice the next day. G was very unimpressed with the 45 minute wait to be served, and I had to agree - three counters open for over 100 people in the queue?
We consulted our map as to what was left to see in the city, and headed off to the Trevi Fountain and the Pantheon. The fountain, while impressive in scale, was swarming with tourists and therefore we couldn't even get close enough to throw a coin in. There would have been at least 200 people crowded around it, if not more.
Giving up on that, we headed for the Pantheon and got there as it was closing, so we took some photos and found a restaurant for dinner. There, I had the worst carbonara EVER. The bacon was tough and the sauce was bright yellow, just like the Kraft macaroni and cheese sauce. A fairly disappointing end to our time in Rome, but maybe Venice will be able to redeem Italy, food-wise.