Vatican City is the smallest state in the world situated within the city of Rome where thousands of pilgrims flock each day to visit the home of the Pope. This 44 hectare parcel of land bordered with walls encloses the history of Christianity of about two millennia. It is the center of Roman Catholicism which houses its largest and holiest Church – the Saint Peter’s Basilica; and a huge museum containing art masterpieces. Tourists are keen on eyeing the collections of magnificent artworks and the entire interior of these buildings and spend much of their time marveling on the tiny details of its architecture. However, only few visitors knew that climbing on top of the cupola of Saint Peter’s Basilica is one of the highlights in the Vatican City Tour. Getting on top of the cupola is an amazing experience which rewards you with a spectacular panorama of Vatican City and Rome.
Visitors could gain access to the cupola everyday where the closing time varies accordingly.
April to September: 8:00am – 6:00pm
October to March: 8:00am – 5:00pm
WHERE TO FIND THE CUPOLA ENTRANCE
Upon entering the Basilica, walk towards the right and you will see the sign for the “cupola” which will direct you to the ticket office. An information desk is available once you enter the Basilica where you could ask for directions.
CUPOLA ENTRANCE TICKETS
6 Euros = Climbing the Dome Only by Stairs (551 steps)
8 Euros = Elevator to the terrace level + Climbing the Remaining Spiral Staircase (320 Steps)
WHAT TO WEAR
Dress modestly. Entry is not allowed to people wearing shorts and shirts without sleeves.
CLIMBING THE CUPOLA
Getting to the top of the dome might be exhausting and demands a lot of energy, but reaching the top of the cupola is indeed rewarding.The elevator will bring you to the terrace level where visitors could access the toilets, water fountains, café, and the souvenir shop. Here, you could have a closer view of the cupola from the outside.
Climbing the stairs from the terrace will direct you to the cupola’s interior balcony where you will admire Michelangelo’s dome from the inside and the glittering mosaics on its walls. From here, you could also have a top view of the main altar of the Basilica.
At this point, you could start climbing the narrow stairway to the top of the cupola. The staircase is well lighted and once you feel exhausted, you could stop on small windows to regain your energy and breath some fresh air.
After the climb, here are the satisfying landscapes viewed from the top of the cupola.
Tip: Don’t carry heavy bags with you when you are planning to climb the cupola. A luggage counter is available near the entrance of the basilica free of charge where you could leave your things. It is advisable to carry a bottle of water and a towel when you decide to get on top. And of course, don’t miss that camera to capture the beautiful scene.