St.Peter’s Basilica.. One of the highlights of any trip to Rome.. and if you make the climb, one of the best veiws of Rome that can be found anywhere.
Of course, on the way to the entrance, before you enter the square, you have to deal with the hundreds of of people selling “fast pass” and “skip the line” tickets that range anywhere from 20 to 45 Euros.. The lines ARE usually pretty long but don’t fall for the 2 1/2 to 3 hr wait time they tell you..but be prepared for a 20 minute wait. The line moves fast and it’s only for security. The entrance to the actual cathedral is free..
This photo was taken from the end of the line and 22 minutes later we were inside…like I said, it moves pretty fast..
Once you pass security, you have to buy a ticket to the Basilica..the church may be free but the climb up is not.. It will cost 5 Euros to climb all those steps..or 7 Euros to take the elevator to the first level.. Unless you are feeling like you want the whole experience, take the elevator. I have done it both ways and the first 200 steps are pretty boring..nothing to see..just a hall with steps.. a lot of steps..
and there are still plenty of steps to enjoy after the lift… My advice.. buy the elevator ticket. Even if you want to climb all the way up, which gives you bragging rights, you can always use the elevator to come back down…
The first level leads up to a walkway around the inside of the dome where you can look into the church below and see the beautiful inside murals on the walls and the dome above. The first time I was here, there was a wire cage that you could actually shoot through.. that has been replaced by plexiglass which was dirty and scratched and darn near impossible to get a shot.. sorry but it’s true.
Now the fun part begins.. for the next 100 or so steps… you have the squeeze by people coming down…yep..exit and entrance is the same for this part..
Eventually…you will make it to the top.. huffing and puffing … but excited ..
There is no time limit on how long you can stay and gaze out over the city.. I am not sure if I stayed for 30 minutes because I was captivated by the views or just knew I had to walk back down…probably a little of both..but eventually …..
The second level, on the way down is a broad expanse of flat roof top.. you will find a restroom here, along with a clean water fountain, a small cafe and a gift shop..
and some pretty good views too…
There are also some perfect views of the Basilica itself..
The elevator to ground level is also here..
Then down, down, down….
The interior of the cathedral is a work of art… full of paintings and statues and ornate iron and stone work..
Like I said.. one of the highlights of any trip to Rome..
At the exit is a booth where you can buy tickets to the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museum…both of which, we skipped this trip..
Now time for some pizza, gelato..and my feet are begging me to rest… Still a long walk exploring this afternoon..