Friday, May 23, 2008

Vatican City

While not everyone who visits Rome is Catholic, Vatican City and St. Peter's are two places all tourists must take the time to go to. The church is unbelievable due to its massive design and artwork and it would take days to fully appreciate everything inside. But, in my opinion, the best five euros you can spend in Rome is to climb all the way up to the top of the dome in St. Peter's.

While this may sound like an easy feat, it is 550 stairs all the way to the top. During your walk you will travel up tiny spiral staircases without railings and in hallways that curve from the ceiling to the floor at forty-five degree angles. Make sure you are up for the trip before you set out because there is no turning back. But once you get to the top, you will not be sorry.

All of the ceiling artwork in the Cathedral is created by small pieces forming mosaics. I cannot imagine creating such massive scenes piece by piece. It is not until you get to the very top of the dome that you can see the designs broken down into their smaller components. While the picture of the ceiling below is not very clear, you can still make out the scene. It is really something you must see in person to make out its grandeur.
When you get to the top of the dome, you can walk around and view the church from several tens of feet up. Make sure you aren't too scared of heights before you go up! While I was in the dome, mass was going on and it was amazing to hear the acoustics of the old Cathedral.

Once you have finished looking around inside the dome, it is time for some more steps upwards towards the very top. Here, you can walk around outside the top of the dome and get an amazing view of the city. On a clear day, it is possible to see all the way to the mountains surrounding Rome. You can also make out the Capitoline building and many other structures in Rome from this height.
This tour of to the very top of the Cathedral is one everyone should take. And if you get tired, make sure to take a break on in the cafe they have on the roof or buy a souvenir from the gift shop. In all 1100 plus steps were totally worth the view from the top.

1 comment:

goggly said...

Loved your introduction for Rome. For a moment I stopped on those steps of spiralling staircase and took a deep breath.
I was only on transit to Rome airport but one day I will visit.