Climbing the Dome of St. Peter’s Basilica

Giuseppe and I started our morning at Il Piccolo Diavolo with beautiful (and delicious) cappuccinos. It seems no matter where you go in Rome, the coffee is always amazing.

Shortly after finishing our coffees, we met up with Chris and headed to the Vatican to climb the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica.  St. Peter’s Basilica is the burial site of Saint Peter, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus and the first Pope of the Catholic church. Since the fourth century, a church has always been present on this site. Construction for St. Peter’s Basilica (built over the Constantine Basilica) began in 1506 and finished in 1626. The overwhelming vastness and seemingly infinite details of intricacy are evidence of the more than century-long construction period.

Partway up to the roof, you are able to look down into the interior of the basilica. If you look closely at the photo above you should be able to see the people walking around.

The entire climb to the top of the dome is via spiral staircase (unless of course you take the elevator). The staircase becomes steeper and narrower as you ascend and eventually it becomes so narrow that you need a rope to hold your balance and pull yourself up.

The climb itself was definitely an adventure, but I didn’t mind it as I think it allows for more of an appreciation for the ingenious architecture. Plus it’s good exercise and completely worth it for the view.


On the way down, we stopped on the terrace beneath the dome to take more pictures.

When we finally got to ground level, we went into the basilica and then to the level below ground which houses many papal tombs. Out of respect, photos are not allowed.

Before walking back to campus to attend a meeting and classes, we stopped at a shop in St. Peter’s Square to buy rosaries to be blessed at the Pope’s papal address next week.

All in all, climbing to the top of the dome and seeing St. Peter’s in a more complete way than before was incredible and another one of my favorite experiences in Rome. I recommend this to anyone visiting this beautiful city!

Ciao, Emily ❤

Question: What is the most beautiful church or cathedral you’ve been to? 

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2 responses to “Climbing the Dome of St. Peter’s Basilica

  1. Wow! I have been there too but never climbed to the top. As for the most beautiful church or cathedral…I don’t know. I have been to so many and all are beautiful in different ways.

  2. Send me some of that coffee!!! Great pictures, thanks for a vivid look at your adventures.

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