Top tip: when you visit the Vatican, organise your tickets for early morning and go for the breakfast. This means you get in before the hordes descend and means you get to see the Sistine Chapel, while not entirely alone, at least without thousands of others. But no matter when you get to St Peters Basilica you’ll be greeted with a great queue. It was too great for me.
But the Vatican - wow. Sure the Sistine gets all the press, but the Gallery of Maps - an extraordinary hallway of more than 40 frescos of maps from around the world - was just one of the unexpected joys of visiting Catholic HQ. Another was the huge fresco - The Coronation of Charlemagne - in one of the rooms of the Stanze di Raffaello. I became mesmerised by one of the bishops in the piece. Who is this chatty man? What is this jibber jabber? What was he saying, while looking over at the other men in hats with a knowing glance? While I’ll never know, I do know that he and his mates look good on my couch.