Hi friends, welcome back to my Italy series! After we toured the Vatican Museum, Jon and I exited in front of St. Peters and used this opportunity to climb the dome. We bought the elevator pass to the top of the church and then climbed 323 stairs to the dome. This climb seemed pretty easy, but it was a little more claustrophobic than the Duomo in Florence. If you don’t want to climb the dome, you can still take the elevator up to the roof for some spectacular views.
I liked doing this climb at the end of our time in Rome so we could see everywhere we’d been the past five days.
The Sistine Chapel is the rectangular building with the triangular roof. For such an important chapel, the exterior is extremely modest. The chimney on the roof is where the smoke comes out when a new pope is elected.
We didn’t join a tour of the Vatican’s gardens, but I enjoyed the views from above. The grounds look as well manicured as Versailles.
I have yet to find a dome or bell tower not worth the climb. On the way down we skipped the elevator and it was a swirly ramp most of the way down. I got a little dizzy, but persevered.
St. Peter’s Square was designed by Bernini and includes 284 columns that are 56 feet high and adorned with 140 sculptures of saints. The granite obelisk is 90 feet tall and weighs over 300 tons. It originally stood in the center of Nero’s Circus and was imported from Egypt.
On Wednesdays there’s an outdoor mass, so I’d avoid this area if you don’t plan on attending the mass.
The line is incredibly long to get inside St. Peters, so I’d recommend either arriving before it opens to beat the line, or visit after the Vatican Museum or Scavi Tour. We seemed to always be in the square in the afternoon and the line was always incredibly long.
There is a lot to see in Vatican City and it’s all so beautiful and impressive. We were here on two separate days, but you could easily spend one day here seeing the Vatican Museum in the morning and St. Peters Basilica in the afternoon. After five days sight-seeing all over Rome, Jon and I were exhausted and looking forward to spending time relaxing in the Amalfi Coast. Stay tuned for more 🙂
Posts in this series:
- Where to Stay & Eat
- Piazza Michelangelo & Ponte Vecchio
- Uffizi Gallery
- Santa Croce, Santa Maria Novella, Accademia
- Climbing the Duomo
- Duomo Museum, Bell Tower, & Baptistry
- Palazzo Vecchio & Tuscon Wine Tour
- Where to Stay & Eat
- Churches, Churches, & Churches Oh My!
- Borghese Gallery
- Spanish Steps, Trevi Fountain, & Pantheon
- St. Peter’s Basilica
- Victor Emmanuel Monument & Capitoline Museum
- Forum & Palatine Hill Tour
- Colosseum Tour
- Castel Sant’ Angelo
- Twilight Trastevere Rome Food Tour
- Vatican Museum – Prime Experience