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Posts tagged piazza san pietro

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Climbing the Cupola of St. Peter’s Basilica for the Best View of Vatican City

I am no athlete. The most I’ve done aside from the sporadic trip to the gym was probably a short dance stint back in gradeschool (my Spice Girls and Backstreet Boys years, mostly), high school (school plays and whatnot) and early college. But I am no athlete. So this unexpected trek up the Catholic Church’s largest basilica’s gargantuan dome thing on top definitely knocked the wind out of me.

You can opt to pay EUR5 to ride the elevator up part of the way (which I did, and recommend to non-athletes like me), but alas, the rest of the pilgrimage to the top is on foot.

The roof of the basilica—you can see the backs of the saint statues that line the square!

You get to be up close and personal with the dome interiors—and see the tiny churchgoers and tourists bustling about beneath you!

The walls are lined with gorgeous mosaic—these things last forever!

Now for the rough part of the climb—the walls become narrower and narrower, steeper and steeper, and I swear as you reach the “curves” in the dome, the walls curve with them so you have to walk with your body hunched over or slanted!

I’m not sure if this is a well known thing-to-do at St. Peter’s, but if you haven’t done it, I highly recommend braving the climb…


St. Peter’s square is miniscule from above.

The office of the Vatican—

And there—do you see the Musei Vaticani and Sistine Chapel?

I was out of breath and thirsty as hell, but man were the views so worth the climb.

What seems to be a perfect Italian day~

On the way back down, there are gift shops and cafes in the middle floors/mid-levels

You can even go right up to the backs of the saints that line St. Peter’s square! They’re HUGE in person!

See the big dome? We were at the tippy top of that! This shot was taken by the saint statues at mid-level

You can’t even really see the people who are still up there! It’s so deceptively small, but climbing it was a real challenge!

And finally, on the way down, here’s me and my brother popping some chips for sustenance. Hahaha

Photos: Canon 450D + 10-22mm

(We actually shot a video the whole way up but my commentary is too embarassing hahaha)

Filed under italia italy roma rome vatican vaticano vaticani vatican city italy 2010 europe europa church basilica saint peter's st peter's peter san pietro basilica di san pietro piazza san pietro Architecture catholic church pope holy holy seat

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Piazza San Pietro, Vatican City, Italy

We must’ve visited the square 3 times during this trip, all for different reasons. First, as part of the tour, where we stood in line for almost 2 hours only to have 5 minutes inside the Basilica. That was also the day my sister’s SD card devastatingly got wiped.

So this, our second visit, was to retake the shots we lost, which were the ones of the exterior of the basilica as well as around the piazza. Luckily, it was better weather than the first visit! A rare occasion.

Seats already in place for the Papal Audience (which we would also be attending)

What I love about St. Peter’s, despite its usual crowdedness and hordes of tourists milling about, is that there’s something epic about it that you can’t deny. Angels & Demons wasn’t an exaggeration of how grand and spectacular the whole place is, even though the movie made use of CG.

Of course we went looking for the bas relief of the West Wind as featured in the book. But like most A&D related artifacts/stuff, it was behind fences and much too far to see :|

Photos: Canon 450D + 10-22mm

Filed under italia italy roma rome vatican vaticano piazza san pietro san pietro st. peter's basilica vatican city citte del vaticano europe travel travels religious cathedral angels and demons dan brown st. peter's square italy 2010