The Cupola of St Peter's Basilica, Vatican City
When you are in Vatican, there are many must-see's and must-do's. Going to the top of the Cuppola is one of them. You have two options to go up : You can pay 5 Euros to use the stairs and climb up; or you pay 7 Euros to take the lift upto a certain level and then climb up by the stairs. Definitely it is not worth saving 2 Euros unless you want to become a pilgrim and you need to put some suffering flavour in the process. The only disadvantage of the lift is the long queues. The exit of Vatican Museum directly connects to the lift queue and you may get an advantage if you first visit Vatican Museum, then take the lift to Cuppola and finally visit St Peter's Basilica. When you are up, you can have a 360 view of Vatican and Rome, really amazing!!! You can stay as much as you want to take pictures and enjoy the panaromic view. Watching St Peter's Square from the Cuppola is one of my favorites.
It may take a while to get up there but it's worth the while as the views over Rome are spectacular. You have the option of taking the elevator or the stairs, the stairs being a bit cheaper so you might as well take the elevator!
You know, some hours after Benedictus XVI announcement to retire, lightning hit the dome and we have all seen these magnificent photos of the event. The same happens occasionally, I was not so lucky (no rain at all) to catch similar. You and me, we both can decide if it was only an random event or was if done to celebrate this holy announcement. And further, let's trust to our own religion whether nature, the God or gods were behind this phenomenon.
My low level photo is from inside.
This balcony going round the cupola allows you to admire the beautiful decorations and the magnificence of the inside of the cupola in a close up. I liked the play of light entering the church from the top.
The cupola viewed from the roof level of Basilica looks less imposing than when viewed from St Peter Square, where it towers over the huge facade of the church and doubles its height. Or is it only my impression? If you're not comfortable with climbing a narrow staircase (see next tip) it's better to turn back here, you can still enjoy the view of the Piazza from behind the huge figures of the Apostles decorating the facade.
If you want to go to the top of Basillica di San Pietro, you have two options, climb to the top or take the lift part way and climb the rest. My suggestion is to climb the entire way. You save a few euros by climbing. And the part of the climb that could be replaced by the lift is the easiest part of the climb anyways. For the most part, that part of the climb is barely a climb anyways. The steps are at a very mild grade and they are very wide steps. Save the euros, do the climb the entire way.
The fee to climb the cuppola will afford you two different views. One of inside the cuppola and one of the very top of Basillica di San Pietro and the beautiful area around it. Inside the cuppola, you can see Michaelangelo's amazing mosaics. You can take your time looking at the hard work that went into making the mosaic pictures all along the cuppolas. From inside the cuppola, you can also get a few ariel views of the inside of the Basillica. They only let you see one side of the cuppola, but that is OK because the pictures are repeated on the other side. What is neat is that you can see the entire picture of what you are seeing up close, if you look to the other side. After you have had your fill of the inside of the cuppola, you can make your way up the steps to the top of Basillica di San Pietro. You can explore the outside of the roof. You can even see the statues that sit atop the Basillica. After you are done on the roof, make your way up more steps to go to the very top of the Basillica (the outside of the cuppola). Walk around the top of the cuppola to get the 360degree view around the Basillica. You can down into the Vatican City (where they don't really let the public go), some ariel sites of Rome, and also down into the St. Peter's Square. The views are great, it is definitely worth your time.
The St. Peter's Square and the Basilica are a must of course when in Vatican. You can go by foot or take a lift. I suggest a lift here, as you will soon need your feet.
Many go up to the Basilica's highest round to see the church from upwards - dozens of meters high; it looks great. Also nice wall paintings inside.
But don't leave it here - go to the outer part; you see interesting statues surrounding the whole Basilica. But then - note the very small and worn-out sign stating "Cupola". It means the highest place you can go - but no lift/elevator this time available. You have more than 300 steps ahead - but it's worth it. It is very narrow, so that two persons hardly can meet.
Once you are up, you can really see the whole Vatican, the hills of Rome, the whole St. Peter's Square; it is beautiful.
The way back made my feet aching....I was lucky there was the lift for the lower part.
You have to buy some entrance tickets to these places (depending on whether you go by foot or lift) but they are not expensive.
This is an absolute must for a trip to the Vatican City. Tickets to the top of the cupola are very inexpensive. The tickets come in two varieties. You can either walk up the stairs (a whole lotta stairs at that) to get to the top or you can take an elevator for a few more euros. The view of the square is magnificent and should not be missed.
I can at least write something positive about the Vatican...that is the view from the top of the Dome. You can see the whole of the Vatican, as well as a good deal of Roma. But you have to share that view with scores of others, most of whom have no qualms about shoving you out of the way just as you're about to take that amazing photograph. The queues down in the square are never-ending...although you can eavesdrop into a few interesting conversations. The middle-aged North American in front of me was not overly impressed either..."I always imagined it would be more than this," she remarked to her husband. "Whaddaya mean, honey?" he drawled..."Well, you know...more glitzy!".
There is a lift which takes the elderly, infirm, tired and lazy up to the rooftop, from where it is a longish climb up narrow slanting staircases which wind round the inside of the dome, before depositing you on the viewing platform.
Famous view of St.Peter square can be obtain from top which known as Cupola.
£5 as entrance fee, heading to the a long queue just to get into elevator to on top.
However, heart throbbing journey hasnt end yet till you finish cupola steps( more than 300 steps i suppose) to get to Amazing view of the Vatican and Rome.
This is the last part of the ascend and at the same time the narrowest and the most claustrophobic. But the views from the top reward any discomfort you may feel going up.
I don´t remember exactly the numbers of steps, but I think they´re 320. The views from the top are fantastics.-
Ticket: U$S 4,00
Although it's quite an exhausting trip, it's worth climbing up to the top (537 steps). To make it slightly easier you can take the lift up to just about the half way for an extra charge.
A picture to show that the Cathedral's cupola does not look impressive from the outside only...
More to come!!!