Our first morning saw us at breakfast in the dining room before 7:00. We sat with Tom, a retiree from California, whose wife was at home caring for a sick parent.
At 7:30 we hopped on the bus to go see the Vatican Museum. After a hang-up outside when our local guide didn't show, we joined the Greece & Italy tour people we met at the airport for the short tour of the galleries with their local guide. The Vatican Museum includes a wide range of art, as well as the Sistine Chapel. Allan had seen the Sistine Chapel while it was under renovation, and the finished restoration was impressive.
After the museum tour, we all went around the Vatican to the square of St. Peter's basilica. We saw Pope John Paul II bless pilgrims from regional blood donor groups from all over Italy. Each group brought people who dressed in the historic costumes of their region, and the blessing ended with a procession of the costumed people. We had a quick lunch at the Vatican cafeteria, then joined the mob going to St. Peter's basilica. The line took us an hour before we entered through the holy doors which were open for the Jubilee. After a fifteen minute "quickie" viewing, we met for the bus back.
Jane soaked her feet, then napped. Allan walked to the San Giovanni Laterno basilica again and toured the inside, which was impressive even after St. Peter's. Afterwards Allan walked up Via Manzoni away from hotel, circled back to intesection of Via Appia Nuovo, saw the ritzy shops and returned by way of pizza. Allan stopped to chat with New Yorkers Ron & Dominic about how the tour was going. There was dissention over scheduling and pacing from the group. We were still happy with most everything.
Dinner & Rome by Night, an optional excursion, again saw us join with the Greece & Italy group and their tour director Sylvana. One of their party lost a husband on the subway, so she and a friend went back in search of him. After a great dinner at RomAntica up the street from our hotel we took the bus and saw the city by night. Sylvana took us out Christopher Columbus Highway to E.U.R., the new part of Rome built by Mussolini on the way to the airport. Sylvana told us about the more recent history of Rome and its various districts.
At 11:00 that night we returned to the hotel where we started our first laundry. About an hour and half later we finished wringing and hanging our clothes and went to bed.