July 8, 2020

Claustrophobia in Rome: Climbing St Peters dome

There’s something must-do about climbing high buildings to get a good view over a new city. To get the best view over Rome you have to go to another country. St Peter’s in The Vatican is 132 metres high and gives a stunning vista in all directions. If you can survive the hot, humid stairs to the top.IMG 0078

You can take a lift the first half of the journey skyward, but after that you have to walk. Along with several hundred other people.

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As you reach the top of the dome the pathway gets narrower, the queue gets slower and the air gets hotter. But you reach the top and it all becomes worthwhile. The view out towards Castel Sant’Angelo is as stunning as you hoped. Looking west the Vatican gardens are perfectly manicured and very-well watered, as green as you would expect in the rainiest of English parks.

Vatican gardens

The dome was designed by Michelangelo and is 42 metres in diameter as well as 42 metres from top to bottom. It is said that Michelangelo created it 42 metres wide in order not to be bigger than the Pantheon’s 43 metre dome. Nonsense or truth it makes a nice link between the ancient and the Renaissance buildings in the Eternal City.

St Peters Dome

If you are considering climbing the dome bear in mind:

You need to be fit.

You need to have not too much of a waistline or you will get stuck

You need a bottle of water.


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