The Vatican Museums is another great Roman destination. Founded in 1506, it has over 70,000 pieces of work with 54 galleries. You defiantly also want to book your tickets online in advance, so the lines to get in can be hours on some days. The tickets for entry are 16 euros, plus a 4-euro reservation fee. You can select the day and time you want to enter. Be sure you pick a time you can commit you, as the guards can be strict on trying to enter the queue early or late during high season. When you enter thru the main doors, you have to exchange your reservation for a physical ticket. There is a guided one-way path thru the Vatican Museums to see most of the exhibits and artwork. Most people pass the artwork quickly to get to the Sistine Chapel. The Sistine Chapel sits in the Apostolic Palace, home of the Pope. It is the site of the Papal Conclave, where the College of Cardinals vote on a new Pope. To be in the Chapel with the fresco of The Last Judgment painted by Michelangelo is breathtaking. You could easily spend hours looking up at the ceiling! There is no talking or taking photos allowed while inside the Chapel, and they are very strict on those rules. I would say plan to at least spend half a day at the Vatican Museums.
After walking around all day and working up an appetite, we found a small pasta chain nearby called Pastaciutti. It is little hole in the all joint, but it has some of the best pasta I ever had! I had cheese and pepper pasta with a coke for about 7 euros! After a quick meal, we hoped on the subway towards downtown Rome. One of the famous sights we checked out was the Pantheon. The Pantheon was a former Roman temple that is now a Christian church. The current building standing was opened in about 126 AD. The church is circular with a portico of large granite Corinthian columns. The dome is the largest unreinforced dome in the world at 142 feet in diameter! It is also one of the best preserved of all the ancient Roman buildings due to its continuous use. Entering in to see the oculus opening shining light down on the marble floor is an awesome sight! We then walked over to the Spanish Steps. The Spanish Steps are 135 steps built in 1725 to link the Bourbon Spanish Embassy to Trinita dei Monti church. The steps were made famous to an American audience during the 1953 classic movie, Roman Holiday.