Saint Peter’s Basilica

We started our tour in Saint Peter’s Basilica from the top of its dome.

Frankly speaking it’s not an easy task to climb to the top of the dome but it is worth it. After waiting in the long queue we took the elevator that brought us to the balcony called Loggia of the Blessings from where a long and mostly spiraling 551 step staircase rather difficult to climb brought us to the top of the dome.

551 step staircase

551 step staircase

But I would like to warn you that if you have some health problems like heart disease, claustrophobia etc. you shouldn’t climb. But if you are well you will have an opportunity to enjoy a breathtaking view on Saint Peter’s Square and the whole city. It is worth the efforts you will go through while climbing the dome.

You will find more photos in the section “Photos of Vatican”.

The Basilica itself has been the world’s largest Catholic church for a long time. The construction of the church started in 1506 on the site of the old basilica and was completed in 1626. According to the legend the Basilica has been built on the place where Saint Peter, the chief apostle, was buried. In the centre of the church and above the papal altar you can see an amazing huge baldacchino (ciborium) by Bernini.

Saint Peter's Basilica

Saint Peter’s Basilica

In the front of the church there is a “throne of St. Peter”. The whole church is decorated with artworks of such famous artists as Raphael, Michelangelo and Bernini. Like the entire Vatican only a part of the museum is open to the public and you cannot see the whole Basilica.

There are tombs in catacombs located beneath the Basilica where many popes including Pope John Paul II are buried. We stayed in Vatican a great part of the day and then we made our way to the Saint Angel Castle passing along Via della Conciliazione constructed by Mussolini.