The first picture shows the interior of the Dome.
The second picture is taken in the terrace of the Basilica: these are the saints that look at the Piazza, on top of the façade.
The third picture is the Dome seen from the terrace.
“Thou art Peter and upon this rock I will build my church; and I will give unto thee the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven.”
— Christ’s words to St. Peter are carved round the dome’s interior circumference
This isn’t the original dome that was planned. When Michelangelo assumed charge of the work he redesigned it to be wider and taller. By his death in 1564, the 137-foot diameter cuppola had risen to 230 feet — a little more than half of its 443-foot height. It was finally completed 29 years later. It’s the largest brick dome in the world.
Take in the view of the Eternal City from the top of the dome of St. Peter’s. You can ride an elevator to the roof the basilica (where the accompanying photos were taken). After reaching the roof you will still have to climb 332 steps to reach the lantern. The marble steps are small with a low rise, and the closer to the top the passage becomes more narrow, and it is necessary to tilt with the curvature of the dome until a spiral staircase finally gives out to the Roman sky.
Many people who visit the Vatican see St. Peters and the Sistine Chapel but often they miss out on climbing the Cupola of the Vatican and missing out on all the fabulous views that it offers from within the Cupola and from the outside as well. You have the option of taking the stairs which is about 5 euro, to take the elevator costs a few euro more but will save you about 300 or so steps. Keep in mind though you will still have to climb the stairs within the dome. Generally the wait time to climb the stairs during the low season is about 30 to 45minutes, but it is well worth the wait.
A visit to the dome is mandatory: it's one of the best views of the city!
You have the option of doing with or without elevator. We did it with elevator, but we weren't expecting to find 200 or 300 steps in front of us when we got out of it! I suggest you do it without elevator, since it just saves you less than half the way and it's more expensive.
Anyway, the view is well worth the climbing and sweating. It's astonishing!
If you are at all clostrophobic I suggest you think carfully about attempting to reach the top of the dome, it may be a fantastic view but the staircase is very tight. I had to retrace my steps back down because of panic. I dont mean to put anyone off but I wish I had had the same warning.
A must do, is to climb up the dome of San Pietro. The View of Rome and the Piazza San Pietro is amazings + there's a souvenir store on the way up with better prices and findings. I recommend use the elevador It will cost 1 or 2 Euros more, but it's worth it.
The way to the top will take all your breath out, but the view is worth it. Not good if you can't stand be in small spaces or with a very bad condition, there's a lot of stairs after the elevator to get to the top, with small steps and in a very small space, with a long line of people following you.
St. Peter is very impressive, first the large square from which you walk up to the church and then the inside - wow!
To me as a lover of Michelangelos works the pieta was the most touching and impressive part. Unfortunately it can only be seen behind a thick layer of bullet proof glas nowadays. Unbelievable that this crazy guy tried to destroy it a few years ago.
I also went up to the cupola and the breathtaking view is really worth the effort. You can take the elevator up about halfway, the rest inside the cupola has to be done by foot, it's pretty steep and sometimes very small nothing for people with agoraphobia.
Michelangelo's dome, rises 199m above the high altar. Entry to the dome is to the right as you climb the stairs to the atrium of the basilica.
You can either pay to go up in the lift, or for a lesser fee and you are fit you can climb the stairs. Its quite a trek though!
Here's my husband standing on the roof of the basilica.
Don't miss the view from the dome (cupola) - it's gorgeous! You can either take the elevator or walk the steps - senza ascensore - (which is cheaper and, I think, nicer because you can see more and enjoy this majestic church to the fullest). Better come in the early morning, because there won't be so many people around.
The interior is a treasure of art: Italians greatest - Michelangelo and Benini - are to be found there. Have a look at "La Pietà", a marble statue from Michelangelo. The dome itself is his work as well.
When you enter the Basilica, you don't know quite where to look. To the left, to the right, up or down haha.
There is just so much to take in and absorb. You really need a few hours in the Basilica alone.
From the inside, the Cupola of St Peter's Basilica is reaaaaaaaaally high up and not all that clear to see form the floor.
You view it in a lot more detail at the first level, and it is amazing. Hard to fathom the artists creating this masterpiece in days gone by sans modern technology!
It really is amazing.
This dome is the largest dome on earth. Following this is Saint Paul's in London. The sheer beauty of it is amazing.
walking to the Vatican we saw a little shop La Cupola, Belloni Guiliana.
This cosy shop some very nice souvenirs from Faro Creazioni, to take home for friends and family. The lady was very friendly and i bought somespecial medaillons from different saints and some very nice albast art peaces
They also sell postcards for a cheap price. out and inside
Warning - only do this if you are in fairly good shape. It is a long way up to the very top of the cupola, and even though you can take an elevator up to the 'bottom' of the cupola, it is still a long and exhausting climb. However, it is well worth the trip. You get to see up close details of Michelangelo's design of the cupola, view the roof top and sculptures of the Twelve Apostles (and other statues of saints) and get the best views of the Vatican City and Rome!
I went midweek in August, it was very hot and there were hundreds of people. I think my friends and I waited in line for about 40 minutes (possibly longer) before we could buy our tickets and get to go up. For the first part you can take an elevator, or steps. After that, there is an area on the rooftop where there is a souvenir store and place for refreshments - I definitely recommend bringing a bottle of water with you before you start the climb. This is because after the elevator it is climbing all the way! And once you have climbed the 323 steps it is very crowded at the top where everyone is trying to see and take pictures of the city. It is totally worth it - although please don't do as others have - and write your names on the walls at the top, treat the place with some respect.
Daily: 8am - 5pm
For more pictures from the top of San Pietro, check out my travelogue Views from the top of San Pietro
We bought a ticket to take the elevator up to the roof of the cathdral. It lets you out just above the facade. It's a great view of the square. Up here you can have close up views of the 90 statues of the saints which are lined up along the front with a statue of Christ in the center. The huge main dome looms above you but you have a better look at it because you are closer. It's so impressive. You can also see all of the small cupolas that let light in to the cathedral (shown in the picture). It's well worth the ticket price.
The dome of St Peter's is 136.5m (448ft) high. Designed by Michelangelo, the dome was started in 1546 but was not completed in his lifetime. It was, however, finished by Giacomo della Porta and Domenico Fontana in 1589-1593. It was originally intended to be decorated with mosaics for the 1600 Jubilee, but it could not be finished in time and plans were altered. The mosaics were designed by Cavaliere d'Arpino.
Written at the bottom of the dome are written the words Christ spoke to Peter: TU ES PETRUS ET SUPER HANC PETRAM AEDIFICABO ECCLESIAM MEAM ET TIBI DABO CLAVES REGNI CAELORUM.
We took the lift to the first level but it is still 320 steps to the top. Do not do this climb if you do not like enclosed tight places as once you start the climb you cannot turn around. The exit is out at the top of Dome level down another staircase.
The views are fantastic but it is a steep and relentless climb.
There is a spiral staircase that goes on forever and then the walls slant inwards for a while. Not a lot of air in the tunnels and a girl had a panic attack while we were climbing.
Saying that if you survive to the top at least you can say you have been to the top of the Catholic World.