After many hours of exploring central Roma with friends, we decided to end the day at Vatican City. We arrived in daylight but quickly sailed into dusk as the sun set behind the statues and obelisk. The activity level in Piazza San Pietro steadily lowered to a peaceful lull, as priests crossed the cobblestones, presumably on their way home, and grandmothers collected miniature grandchildren to return to their parents for dinner.
Tourists are ubiquitous in Rome, but January is certainly one of the quieter months, and while a bit crisp, I found great joy in this introductory visit to Piazza San Pietro. I was able to feel its energy and fully take in my surroundings without hoards of foreigners milling about the square. Certainly I would not have felt this sense of tranquility during, say, Easter week, when over 400,000 people fill the square to hear the Pope speak.
A visit to the museum deserves at least three hours, not including St. Peters Basilica. Walking through can feel like a never-ending maze if you are at all in a rush or simply tired and famished, so be sure to have your espresso before starting a day here.