Friday, 9 May 2014

The Dome at St Peter's Basilica, Vatican City.


For just 5 euros you can climb all the way to the top of the dome of St Peter's Basilica. It's over 500 steps (300 steps if you pay an extra 2 euros to get a lift part of the way), and there are three levels of the dome you can visit. There's an indoor section where you walk around the inside of the dome, and then you climb extra steps to get to the outdoor part right at the very top of the spire of the dome. The views are absolutely breathtaking, and well worth the 5 euros and 500+ steps.

View of St Peter's Square from top of the dome
The first set of 200+ steps are ok, they're not very steep and you don't really notice that you're walking up them, but then you have to walk up another 100+ normal ones and it gets a bit harder! The view of the inside of the basilica is awesome, you're in a caged enclosure to keep you safe, and it's a really wonderful experience getting so close to the mosaics on the walls that are hundreds of years old.

Mosaics in St Peter's Basilica Vatican City

Mosaics in the dome of St Peter's Basilica
Mosaic in the dome of St Peter's Basilica Vatican
View inside St Peter's Basilica from the dome

Ceiling of St Peter's Basilica dome
St Peter's Basilica Dome
View from the top of St Peter's Basilica dome
After seeing the Basilica from the top, we then headed up another 200+ steps to the very top of the dome. Because obviously the dome is rounded, it meant we had to climb up some very narrow slanted/curved steps at a certain point, which I found really claustrophobic. You definitely couldn't be fat to climb up these steps - it was very tight at times! However, the view was spectacular...we could see over the whole of Rome!

View of Rome from the top of St Peter's Basilica
View of Rome from the top of St Peter's Basilica
View of St Peter's Square from the top of the dome
It was pouring with rain, so we headed back down the slanted stairs to the first level where all the statues are.

We warmed ourselves up in the little cafe, made some postcard purchases in the gift shop, and then had a wander around before heading back down.

St Peter's Basilica Dome
The top of the Dome in the photo below is where we were!

St Peter's Basilica Dome

Statues on top of St Peter's Basilica
Did you know that the Swiss Guard have been guarding the Vatican for 508 years?! And to be a Swiss Guard soldier requires quite a lot; you must be a single white male with Swiss citizenship, who's between 19 and 30 years old, and at least 5ft 8.5inches tall. You must also be Catholic, and you must hold a University degree or high school diploma. The term of service for Swiss Guards varies from 2 to 25 years, and their uniform was influenced by the Renaissance dress. Sadly we didn't get to see their full uniform as it was raining so they were all covered up! 

Swiss Guard at the Vatican Holy See

Swiss Guard at the Vatican Holy See
Have you been up the Dome of St Peter's? Have I persuaded you to go now? ;)


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