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Posts tagged ‘Vatican’

Sistine Chapel Closure for Conclave

Sistine Chapel Conclave Closure

Vatican is Cash Only | Concerns about money laundering

long lines vatican money launderingOh, you heard me right.

The Italian government has grave concerns over the Vatican’s handling of money and its non-compliance with the European Union’s safeguards against money laundering.  As of December 31, 2012 the Bank of Italy is no longer allowed to operate inside the Vatican walls.  It is easy to forget that the Vatican is independent of Italy when the city of Rome has engulfed the area on all sides.  Many times this has proved to be an advantage for the Holy See, although this is not the case currently.

What does this mean for travelers?  Tourists will need to pay for cash for visits to the Vatican Museum, the cafeteria and for any purchases at the gift shops within Vatican City.  The change has brought about a great hassle as unknowing tourist wait in the long lines only to be turned away to find cash.   I suggest all travelers make sure to have enough cash to cover entrance fees and any intended purchases.  ATMs are located on just about every street corner in Rome.  Prices are currently 16 euro/adult and 8 euro/student.

What does this mean for the Vatican?  Obviously, these are huge sources of revenue and in the current economic situation any loss in income will have a greater impact.  I have a feeling that the order for compliance is about to be taken more seriously and once the EU standard safeguards are in place tourists can expect things to return to normal.

The original article can be found here.

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Copyright 2012   Andi Brown,  Once in a Lifetime Travel

My Love Affair with Rome | Sunset at Castel Sant’Angelo

Several weeks ago I began a journey to explain why I am so in love with the city of Rome.  I began with an article defending it against common criticism that can be found here.  Now I would like to begin my series that breaks down my infatuation piece by piece, hoping that in the end all that have followed along with at least give some grace to the city that holds my heart prisoner.

rome italy vatican sunsetOn a trip to Rome several years ago, I ended up spending more time than I expected touring Castel Sant’Angelo.  As the sun started to fade I made a split decision and found a little table at the overpriced cafe with a picture perfect view of the Vatican.

I normally avoid touristy restaurants like the plague, but this moment made everything worth it.  As I sipped my wine and watched the sun melt behind St Peter’s iconic dome, I wondered how many other people could say they have shared this experience.

Travelers Note:  Castel Sant’Angelo was originally built as a tomb for the emperor and has been used as a prison, castle and place of refuge for popes under attack throughout the centuries.  This is one of my favorite sites that is sadly missing from many travelers itineraries.  If for nothing else, the views of the city are worth the trip.  Closed Mondays.  Open 9.00-18.30 Tue-Sun

castel sant angelo

rome italy

rome italy

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Copyright 2012   Andi Brown,  Once in a Lifetime Travel

My Special Places in Italy | Angel Tours Rome

While a tour group might not technically be a special place, this is my blog and I will call it so if I want to!

When I first hatched the idea of creating my Italian travel planning business, I met the energetic and charismatic Sean while visiting Rome.  He had recently taken over Angel Tours Rome and with his small army of students completely won me over.  Since that time years ago, he has grown his business and expanded to other cities including Dublin and Florence.

When I first began traveling, I thought naively that I could get what I needed when at the Vatican or the Roman Forum with a simple guidebook.  Once I experienced those sites again through the eyes of Sean’s guides I was amazed at how much more real and alive they became.  It was as if I was seeing them for the first time.  I feel that with every visit.  I have taken the tours several times with my groups and on my personal visits.  Believe it or not, I never tire of them.  Sean finds young people who are so incredibly knowledgeable of history, art and culture you find yourself almost guilty in your ignorance.  But these guides are no snobs.  Every single one injects just the right amount of humor and storytelling.   They are the first to confess to being a bit ‘mad.’

I can’t help but feel a connection to Angel Tours and I am so proud of the growth that has happened since I first stumbled upon them.  For anyone traveling to Italy and planning to stay in Rome, check out Angel Tours Rome and make sure to tell them hello from Andi!!

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Copyright 2012   Andi Brown,  Once in a Lifetime Travel

FREE Audio Walking Tours For Italy

Everyone loves a good deal.

Rome ItalyHere is my pick for best deal of the summer!  Rick Steves has a comprehensive collection of FREE audio walking tours which I highly recommend.  Many places like Pompeii have poor guides and so-so information available to travelers.  With these guides you are saving money and learning a ton while being entertained.

I do still highly value my personal guides in areas like the Vatican and the Roman Forum.  In areas like these you really need someone to help make the site come to life.  I am a devout follower of Angel Tours Rome and send all of my clients, my friends and even my mother to these amazing people.  They offer both group and private tours, each worth every single penny.  Make sure to tell Sean and Tatjana that I sent you!

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Copyright 2012   Andi Brown,  Once in a Lifetime Travel

Featured Photo Friday | 21st Century Nuns at the Vatican

Nuns in italy

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Copyright 2012   Andi Brown,  Once in a Lifetime Travel

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