The Cupola of St Peter's Basilica, Vatican City

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  • The Cupola of St Peter's Basilica
    by Maryimelda
  • Mosaic details
    Mosaic details
    by Tijavi
  • The Cupola of St Peter's Basilica
    by Tijavi
  • Escadora7's Profile Photo

    Climbing up the Dome

    by Escadora7 Updated Dec 1, 2005

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    The Cupola
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    This, as so many things on our Rome trip, was not at all planned - we didn't even know one was allowed to climb up the Dome.

    We were all thrilled from the near-mystical experience we had in front of St. Peter's shrine, when we exited the basement of the basilica and saw a small gate on the side. We went to the window, inquired what it was, paid, and were permitted to enter.

    First there were the looong stairs. It went round and round and round on these really long stairs - long, not meaning many, but long as in they have a weird length and you never know whether to take one big step or 2 little steps. So we finally figured out a rhythm and ended up on the roof of the building with a very nice view.

    Then it went off to the next set of stairs; these were smaller and led us to the front of the cupola, overseeing St. Peter's square: simply spectacular! You could walk on the little way along the outside of the dome and enjoy the view 360 degrees around, or just sit on one of the stone overhangs and bask in the sun.

    From there on, it went even further up an even smaller staircase (If the vertigo didn't get to you before, the claustrophobia here surely will!), and we ended up on the very top of the cupola, overseeing the inside of the Dome, watching a mass from high above.

    ..................................................

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  • Diana75's Profile Photo

    Cupola di San Pietro

    by Diana75 Written Feb 3, 2007

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    Cupola di San Pietro
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    With a diameter of around 43 meters, the beautifull dome was Michelangelo's last great work.

    The dome sits on four great arches that stand on four massive piers, each with a perimeter of 71 meters.

    Giacomo della Porta finished the works, raising it 10 meters so it's now at 136 meters above floor level.

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  • Diana75's Profile Photo

    Climbing up the dome

    by Diana75 Updated Feb 3, 2007

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    Visiting the cupola
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    Climbing up the dome of the Basilica offers the possibility to give a closer look to the beautiful mosaics.

    The pendentives carry four mosaics (8m across) representing the Evangelists, while the interior of the dome is deocrated with figures of the Popes and the Doctors of the church.

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  • IIGUANA's Profile Photo

    Huge dome

    by IIGUANA Written Feb 14, 2005

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    Saint Peter's Dome

    Saint Peter's Dome is the biggest dome on Earth. Following this one is Saint Paul's in London. The beauty of it, the perfection of the inside is amazing. You can go up and have a great view of Rome. But then again, the 2 1/2 hour queue was not for me.

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  • icunme's Profile Photo

    Cupola Visit & Vista

    by icunme Updated Nov 16, 2009

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    If you're with someone who doesn't want to climb the 320 steps to the top of the dome, they can still take the elevator to the roof, enjoy the view from the gallery inside the dome looking down into the basilica, and then hang out at the gift shop and coffee bar, while the others make the climb. If you're overly energetic, you can take the stairs that winds around the elevator to reach the roof.

    As you exit the interior gallery at the base of the dome, you have the option of going up the dome or down to the roof level. If you make the climb, you'll pass several small windows that provide a view. At the top you receive the views so often seen in photographs. See if you can spot Rome's other great dome, the Pantheon.

    Back on the roof, you have access to restrooms, water fountains, a gift shop and a new coffee bar. Take a walk to the front of the basilica to look into the Square and observe the huge statues on the facade. When you're ready to depart, there is again the option of elevator or stairs. Along the walls of the stairs are inscriptions listing some famous people who visited St. Peter's Basilica.

    At the entrance to the basilica, there is a sign that directs you to the far right of the portico (past the Holy Door) and to the kiosk for the elevator. This area can sometimes be entered from the stairs in the baggage check room at the lower right of the basilica.

    The cost to take the elevator to the roof is 7 euros. It is 6 euros to walk up the stairs around the elevator. I highly recommend the elevator, as there is nothing to see along the stairs, and it's a strenuous walk.
    But at the other exit elevator, consider taking the stairs down, as this area contains marble plaques of all the famous who have visited the dome over the years.

    Hours 8:00 - 18:00 (Apr - Sep) 8:00 - 16:45 (Oct - Mar)
    Cost 7 Euros for elevator, 6 Euros for stairs

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  • Tijavi's Profile Photo

    Still can't get enough of the dome

    by Tijavi Written Sep 24, 2010

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    While climbing the dome (cupola) of St Peter's is a great experience, it would be even be more enriching if you get a chance to view the interior of the cupola within the basilica. The best chance of getting up close to it would be before your climb to the dome (after the brief elevator ride).

    After getting off the elevator, don't rush to the staircase, but take a few moments to absorb the astonishing beauty of the cupola from within - and look down - the main altar. It's one of those moments where the cliche "thank god for religion" is most true - and real.

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  • sandysmith's Profile Photo

    Vatican Vistas

    by sandysmith Updated Apr 5, 2003

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    papal residence

    From the top of the dome you will have the best views of the papal palaces and its gardens. Fortifications, grottoes and fountains dating from the 9th century are some of the features. Th french and italian gardens are best seen when the fowers are in bloom. There is even a papal vegetable garden! The vatican radio mast can also be seen and part of the defence wall around the vatican city .

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  • DEBBBEDB's Profile Photo

    Checking the Cupola

    by DEBBBEDB Updated Apr 28, 2008

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    View from the top
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    After we did the Sistine Chapel, we went to the cupola (lift AND 320 steps). The queue for this was much shorter by now (1600). The stairs are up the sides of the dome (inside of course), but the walls slope, like you would expect the dome to. Our son was thinking he would be hanging over some edge somewhere and was complaining about how he was scared. We pressed on. There are 2-3 vantage points, the first is inside the dome just off the lift - one can see down into the church and can really see how large the mosaics are in the dome. The second is from the roof of the main church - good pictures of the outside of the dome, etc. The third is from the cupola (after 320 stairs). Fabulous views of Rome. Our son wasn't scared after he saw where we were going - wacky child

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  • SiCkb0y's Profile Photo

    The dome of St. Peter's Basilica

    by SiCkb0y Updated Apr 14, 2006

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    If you're looking for a place to get a wonderful view over Rome and the Vatican City - the "Cupola" is the place to visit. Make sure you plan enough time for this activity - it is best combined with visiting the ground floor of the basilica, as well as the tombs. That's because you need to queue for about an hour to enter the three places mentioned. And there's another queue for the Cupola - it takes extra 15-20 minutes.
    There are two levels of the Dome. The first one is reachable with an elevator and allows you to see the interior of St. Peter's Basilica from above. The other one is a platform at the top, that gives you the wonderful view over Rome. The top level is reachable only by stairs and there's a couple of hundred of them, so it isn't really suggested for people with heart problems, etc.

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  • ophiro's Profile Photo

    The dome of the cathderal

    by ophiro Updated May 29, 2005

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    The dome

    As far as i remember the dome in this cathedral is the biggest dome in the world.
    You can climb up the dome for a great view !.

    The dome was designed by Michelangelo as far as i remember.

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  • Jenniflower's Profile Photo

    The Cupola of St Peter's Basilica

    by Jenniflower Updated Apr 14, 2006

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    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.

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  • aaaarrgh's Profile Photo

    Best view in Rome from St Peter's dome

    by aaaarrgh Updated Jan 19, 2005

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    Arghh! What a view!!

    Just realised my title rhymes :-)

    The vast, vast dome of St Peter's Basilica has a great secret - you can climb up inside it to the very top. From the top, 135m up, you are presented with tremendous aerial views of St Peter's Square, and the rest of Rome's rooftops.

    It is one of the most fun things I have ever done. Such a super historic building and there you are, squeezing your way between the inner and outer skin of Michaelangelo's dome, up first a lift and then 300 steps. Really, the space gets smaller and smaller towards the top!

    The price worked out at about £3 but whatever the price is today, I can guarantee it is worth the climb. Unless you suffer from claustrophobia, scared of heights etc. (sure there must be some spiders up there too :-)

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  • eksvist's Profile Photo

    Climbing the Cupola of St. Peter's Basilica

    by eksvist Written May 27, 2008

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    view to the Palace of the Governorate
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    If you're doesn't want to climb more than 300 steps to the top of the dome, you can take the elevator to the roof. If you're overly energetic, you can take the stairs that winds around the elevator to reach the roof.
    From the cupola there is a great view to all Rome.

    Climbing the Cupola
    Hours 8:00 - 18:00 (Apr - Sep) 8:00 - 16:45 (Oct - Mar)
    Cost 7 Euros for elevator, 6 Euros for stairs

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  • Maryimelda's Profile Photo

    The Cupola

    by Maryimelda Written Aug 26, 2010

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    There are two choices when it comes to getting to the top of the Cupola or Dome of St Peter's.
    You can get a lift/elevator up to the roof level and climb the remaining steps to the top of the Dome or you can climb all the steps from the ground up (312 in all). Whichever way you choose to go the effort expended will be deemed well worth it. The views are spectacular.
    You can see clear out to the sea and to the Alban Hills, Frascati and the Sabbine Mountains. Closer to hand of course are the rooftops of Rome laid out like a carpet for all to see.

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  • Pieter11's Profile Photo

    Climb the Dome

    by Pieter11 Written Dec 26, 2004

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    Unless you are claustrofobic (really necessary) you have to climb the Dome of the St. Peter. Nowhere in Rome you can have a more beautiful view over the city. But really: you shouldn´t do it when you are claustrofobic, because the stairs to the top are really narrow!

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