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Image for 300: queuing in Rome (with a banned sandwich – 10 images)

300: queuing in Rome (with a banned sandwich – 10 images)

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sara

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300 metres is the average length of the line stretching around and across St. Peter’s Square in the Vatican. This would also be the average number of people waiting in that line at any given time to get into St. Peter’s Basilica. Queuing is integral to the tourist experience of Rome, even more than it is to other cities. You wait at to get into the Vatican Museum, you wait in front of the La Bocca della Verit, you have to fight during your wait in front of the Fontana di Trevi to famously throw in a coin in over your shoulder. Serbian photographer Sara Stojkovic shares the wait with us

This gallery is part of the final edition of cafebabel.com’s flagship project of 2012, the sequel to ‘Orient Express Reporter’, sending Balkan journalists and photographers to EU cities and vice versa for a mutual pendulum of insight. Many thanks to the folks at cafebabel.com Rome

One in thousands

Rome’s mild climate means that there is hardly such a thing as low-season when it comes to the Eternal City. Spring and autumn are safer bets if you’re looking to avoid the ridiculous masses. Asking any Roman, you learn that Sundays are to be avoided, as are Mondays and Saturdays and Fridays ... as well as Tuesdays and Wednesdays and Thursdays between 10am and 4pm. On any given day, you will be one of 15, 000 to 80, 000 folks on the same mission (Image: © Sara Stojkovic for Orient Express Reporter II, Rome 2012)

Fight

Get off the metro at Ottaviano Station and fight your way to the Vatican muttering no, grazie to offers of tour guides, umbrellas and fake Prada, Gucci and Louis Vuitton bags. Take a peek through the colonnades at the waiting line in front of the Basilica of St. Peter. Approach the square. Be your heart a tourist or a pilgrim one, it will flutter at the sight of the encompassing colonnades and the imposing Basilica. Let it not tremble as you examine the queue stretching out from the entrance, down the side of the right-hand walls behind the statue of St. Peter, coming to a sharp turn as the walls meet the colonnades, security checkpoints and x-ray machines (Image: © Sara Stojkovic for Orient Express Reporter II, Rome 2012)

Zigzags

The same queue zigzags between the fences next to the 1613 fountain by Carlo Maderno, underneath the colonnades, on and on; not even when you see the row extend beyond the coziness of the colonnades and bend around the square, reaching its mid-point directly in front of the obelisk. By now, the line has reached more than 300 metres in length. If it is the weekend, Monday, or any other day of the week with reasonably good weather, there’s probably another 100 or even 200 metres in front of you (Image: © Sara Stojkovic for Orient Express Reporter II, Rome 2012)

Obladi

Bravely take your place at the end of the line, and the 4, 000 year old colossal Egyptian obelisk brought to Rome by the infamous Emperor Caligula in 37 BCE, and now standing in the centre of the square, will grab  your attention. Then there are the 17th century fountains and the 140 statues of saints inspecting the Square from the top of the colonnades (Image: © Sara Stojkovic for Orient Express Reporter II, Rome 2012)

Hepburn notions

The Roman tourist information website warns: ‘As much as you may envision yourself strolling down the Spanish quarter in heels that capture the elegance of Audrey Hepburn in A Roman Holiday, your feet will be cursing your narcissism’ (Image: © Sara Stojkovic for Orient Express Reporter II, Rome 2012)

Martyrdom

Having been to Rome numerous times over the past decade, my favourites include San Clemente with its three remarkably-preserved historical layers, or the lesser known macabre Santo Stefano Rotondo, the shrine to medieval martyrdom (Image: © Sara Stojkovic for Orient Express Reporter II, Rome 2012)

Tick tock

Matthias from Switzerland has waited in line for about an hour. It’s been 30 minutes for me so far (Image: © Sara Stojkovic for Orient Express Reporter II, Rome 2012)

Hungry

Unlike in other parts of Rome, you won’t see any food carts around the square. In August the City passed a legislation prohibiting snacking in public places of cultural and historical importance, with fines ranging from 25 to 500 euros. If you don’t want to take your chances with a sandwich, bear in mind that finding a decently priced meal nearby will be a challenge. Ask one of the members of the Papal Swiss Guard for a tip (Image: © Sara Stojkovic for Orient Express Reporter II, Rome 2012)

295e for 300 metres

This might be the point when, so close to your goal yet possibly tired of the wait, the unceasing offers made around the square for ‘skip-the-line’ tickets start to seem tempting. For a mere 295 euros you can get a private guided tour, before or after opening hours. That, or you can play dumb, go straight to the security check, and use a moment of confusion to jump ahead of some poor soul (Image: © Sara Stojkovic for Orient Express Reporter II, Rome 2012)

Fin

Or, you can relax, savour the moment (or the hour), and enjoy the wait (Image: © Sara Stojkovic for Orient Express Reporter II, Rome 2012)

This gallery is part of the final edition of cafebabel.com’s flagship project of 2012, the sequel to ‘Orient Express Reporter’, sending Balkan journalists and photographers to EU cities and vice versa for a mutual pendulum of insight. Many thanks to the folks at cafebabel.com Rome

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