Check Out The Stunning View From the Cupola of St Peter’s Basilica
From Raphael to Picasso, Leonardo da Vinci to Michaelangelo, the city of Rome is swathed in works of art by the masters. Italian Renaissance Artist Raphael’s “The School of Athens” hangs ostentatiously on the wall of the Apostolic Palace in Vatican City, Renaissance sculptor Michaelangelo’s jaw-dropping frescoes drape the Sistine Chapel ceiling, and his stirring ‘Pieta’ sculpture draws thousands to the St. Peter’s Basilica daily. Throw in ruins from ages past, vestiges of glory sprinkled across the land and Rome is one enigmatic city you just can’t get enough of. Anywhere you turn, you will almost always find ruins, transforming the entire city into a sprawling open-air museum, steeped in rich history.
Just like in Berlin, one must scan the horizon on higher ground from a vantage point to get the best of what Rome has to offer. Better yet, one must brave the 551-step, narrow and winding staircases within the walls of the iconic St Peter’s Basilica. The seemingly endless flights of stairs lead to the dome or cupola of the world famous cathedral. At the top, the brave and the courageous are rewarded with a breathtaking view of the ‘Eternal City’.
The impressive mosaics at the concentric balcony that winds around the cupola. Here, guests can enjoy a top view of the altar or look up at the cupola before climbing the 320 steps.
The steps may be 551 in total, but visitors have the option to take a short elevator ride skipping almost half of it. After getting off the elevator they can then take the remaining 320 steps on foot. This costs € 5. Another alternative is to take the elevator ride straight to the roof but then people miss out on seeing the gallery up close and personal. The elevator ride straight to the roof costs € 7.
Opting for the more exciting route (stairs) comes with a price – it can seem interminable and reaches a point of no return. The stairs start wide at the beginning; but as visitors go higher, the steps become narrower until only one person can fit in. It is a one-way uphill climb not recommended for those suffering from higher levels of claustrophobia or vertigo. There’s enough resting space, though, and ample opportunity to peek through the small windows. Climbers can revel in the unfolding ‘celestial’ scenery outside as they go.
After the brief elevator ride, before climbing up the stairs, guests can walk along the concentric balcony that winds around the cupola. From there they can pause and soak in the imposing Basilica’s atrium designed by Carlo Maderno, built between 1608 and 1612. The Basilica’s enormous size, its Baroque stuccos, impressive mosaics and intricately carved statues, can be stupefying. The photos below provide a glimpse of what it’s like inside the dazzling cupola of St Peter’s Basilica. The heart-stopping view at the top is enough to convince anyone that Rome is truly one glorious metropolis, beloved and adored by artists, poets and Roman Catholic adherents alike.
The baldacchino, a colossal canopy that covers the St. Peter shrine and the altar. Designed by Lorenzo Bernini between 1624 to 1633, it stands 90 feet (30 meters) tall. Its height is actually overwhelming if it’s not dwarfed by the dome.
Mind-blowing mosaics and frescoes.
A sneak peek at the interior of the Basilica.
The beginning of the winding, uphill climb.
The stairs become narrower and smaller as visitors go higher.
Bird’s eye view of the the tribune situated at the far west of the basilica, at the center of the Cathedral of St. Peter.
Michelangelo’s dome. Examining each painstaking detail can strain one’s neck. The frescoes are so detailed and captivating, can easily hook anyone looking.
The other side of the balcony.
Guests can look outside the small windows and check out the unfolding scenery as they climb higher.
The last part of the winding staircase leading to the top. Almost there.