Our apartment in Rome was set directly between Vatican City and the Castle Sant’ Angelo, and we spent a fair amount of time at each. The Castle Sant’ Angelo was originally Hadrian’s mausoleum and then was turned into a fortress. It is connected to the Vatican by the Passetto, a long wall containing a passage way which Pope Clement VII used to escape to the Castle during the Sack of Rome in 1527.
Our days at the Castle were much less dramatic that Pope Clement’s, spent mostly on the playground, or picnicking in the shade, reading Peter Pan and watching boys play football and couples making out in the shade of the towering umbrella pines.
And of course, there was quite a lot of just plain silliness like this:
St. Peter’s Square can get pretty crowded during the day, but in the evening it is a completely different place: quiet and open in a way that few places in Rome are. It’s a perfect spot for an after dinner gelato as the sun sets (which, curiously, happens very, very late in Rome – it seemed to stay fully light until almost 10pm and then the sun was up again at 5:30am!)