Climbing Up To The Cupola Of St. Peters Basllica, Vatican City

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No matter how you decide to go, you will get a lot of exercise. Option one is to climb the entire 551 steps to the top. Option two ( my choice) you cut the trip down to 320 steps. Most people took the elevator to the 320 step route. Hours are from 08:00 – 17:00   from October to March 31st.  From April to September 30th, it is open till 18:00. Keep in mind, it is a climb and make sure you are in reasonable physical condition.

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It gets a little tight on the staircase.

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On the way up there are several viewing locations.

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This was an early morning visit in September..

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As I zoom into the mosaics the details will become visible.

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How detailed they are.

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Now on to the top.

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360 degree views of Vatican City and Rome

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Many details of the basilica become visible when you are on top.

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At the end of the trip catch the stairs to the elevator an complete your tour of the basilica at your leisure.  The rope serves as a handrail.

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Cost for your excursion is 5 Euros if you climb, and 7 if you wish to take the partial ride in the elevator. I arrived at about 08:15 with no lines. It was worth the climb. Look for the signs directing you to the cupola as you enter and there will be a ticket booth.

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4 thoughts on “Climbing Up To The Cupola Of St. Peters Basllica, Vatican City

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  1. Wonderful ! The German poet did the same 1786:

    We… “went to St. Peter’s, which received from the bright heavens the loveliest light possible, and every part of it was clearly lighted up. As men willing to be pleased, we were delighted with its vastness and splendour, and did not allow an over-nice or hypocritical taste to mar our pleasure. We suppressed every harsher judgment: we enjoyed the enjoyable.
    Lastly we ascended the roof of the church, where one finds, in little, the plan of a well-built city,—houses and magazines, springs (in appearance, at least), churches, and a great temple, all in the air, and beautiful walks between. We mounted the dome, and saw glistening before us the regions of the Apennines, Soracte, and toward Tivoli, the volcanic hills,—Frascati, Castel-gandolfo, and the plains, and, beyond all, the sea. Close at our feet lay the whole city of Rome in its length and breadth, with its mountain palaces, domes, etc. Not a breath of air was moving, and in the upper dome it was (as they say) like being in a hothouse. When we had looked enough at these things, we went down, and they opened for us the doors in the cornices of the dome, the tympanum, and the nave. There is a passage all round, and from above you can take a view of the whole church and of its several parts. As we stood on the cornices of the tympanum, we saw beneath us the Pope, passing to his midday devotions. Nothing, therefore, was wanting to make our view of St. Peter’s perfect…”

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  2. Thank you ! The german poet Goethe did the same 1786 and wrote:

    We…”went to St. Peter’s, which received from the bright heavens the loveliest light possible, and every part of it was clearly lighted up. As men willing to be pleased, we were delighted with its vastness and splendour, and did not allow an over-nice or hypocritical taste to mar our pleasure. We suppressed every harsher judgment: we enjoyed the enjoyable.
    Lastly we ascended the roof of the church, where one finds, in little, the plan of a well-built city,—houses and magazines, springs (in appearance, at least), churches, and a great temple, all in the air, and beautiful walks between. We mounted the dome, and saw glistening before us the regions of the Apennines, Soracte, and toward Tivoli, the volcanic hills,—Frascati, Castel-gandolfo, and the plains, and, beyond all, the sea. Close at our feet lay the whole city of Rome in its length and breadth, with its mountain palaces, domes, etc. Not a breath of air was moving, and in the upper dome it was (as they say) like being in a hothouse. When we had looked enough at these things, we went down, and they opened for us the doors in the cornices of the dome, the tympanum, and the nave. There is a passage all round, and from above you can take a view of the whole church and of its several parts. As we stood on the cornices of the tympanum, we saw beneath us the Pope, passing to his midday devotions. Nothing, therefore, was wanting to make our view of St. Peter’s perfect…”

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