What is the tallest building or tower that you ever climbed by foot?
After a day of exploring the Vatican Museum, we climbed the 551 steps up to the top of Saint Peter’s Basilica. It was a perfect time to go as it was nearing the end of the day with the beautiful evening light. The views from above Saint Peter’s Square are spectacular. What we didn’t know is that we needed cash to enter. With a race against time and no cash on us, we had to figure out how to get it fast.
Saint Peter’s Square was designed to be large enough to give the greatest number of people the Pope’s blessing and evoke a sense of awe. In fact, the pope gave a speech that day, but we avoided the crowd. At the center of the square is Saint Peter’s obelisk, which is nearly 4000 years old. It was originally from Egypt, and then brought to Rome with 12 others. This one has been in the Vatican since 1586 when Pope Sixtus V decided to re-erect all obelisks lying in the ruins of Rome.
We figured out how to get cash to climb the basilica at a nearby shop. The shop would charge a fee to your debit card and give you cash. We recommend bringing cash to avoid the extra fee. The cost to climb to the top is €8 ($8.70 USD). For an additional fee of €2, you can take an elevator for a portion of the ascent. We opted to not spend the extra each to go up as we are in good physical shape.
The climb up was awkward at first as the steps were unnatural and we were in a hurry. Further up there are some very narrow walkways so if you are claustrophobic, this isn’t a good climb for you. The walls curve so you have to bend your body as you walk within the cupola.
We had no problem climbing up but looked forward to the top where we found some amazing views and some fresh air. Down below was St. Peter’s Square which is enormous and even more grand seeing it from above.
The ornate tile work at the top of the cupola was so beautiful. Even though we aren’t catholic, this place moved us and was definitely a wow moment. It amazes us how much beauty humanity can create.
This was a lovely place to visit and is such a unique experience.
Don’t miss out on new content!
Follow our blog for new snippets every day and full posts and videos every week.