Whenever I watch movies and somehow along the way, the main cast is in Italy… Vatican City’s St. Peter’s Basilica seems to always be present as the shooting location. It is one of the most well-known spots in Italy, and rightfully so. It’s the place where people gather to see the Pope, the place where people gather to say goodbye to a deceased Pope, and the place where they welcome the newly appointed one. However, since I am straight forward and honest, my reason was I was excited to see the place because I want to see this famous landmark in person after seeing it in so many movies that I’ve watched since I was a kid. Haha.
I’ve always loved Roman architecture and St. Peter’s Basilica and its square are no exception to the majestic works of the Romans. Everything looked like it was straight out of a postcard— so pretty and somehow (even though there’s no monarchy in the Vatican) royal.
The square always has people even when there’s no mass or no Pope to fawn all over. You get to see your locals, your tourists and my favorites— the pigeons. Haha.
Whilst my family and I were in the square, my mom pointed out a giant dome on top of St. Peter’s Basilica. She told us that when she and her sisters were younger, they climbed to the top of the dome. My mom encouraged us — with a VERY straight face I might add– that we should also do the same. She said that the view alone on top of the dome would make the climb worth it. Our mom can be very persuasive and insisted, so us four monkeys carried on to do the task. We paid a small fee (around 5 euros per head from what I remember) and entered the tiny gate that’ll lead us to the climb. What we didn’t expect was that it was going to be one of the most excruciating climbs that we would take in our lifetime. Lol. Exagg. But not really. Haha.
It starts out with a spacious stairway that’ll lead to a door on the wall. We thought that it would only take us a few minutes to reach the top. But oh my gosh. Were we so… so… so… so… wrong…
It wasn’t just a single staircase!! It was a series of different landscape of stairways that constantly varied every few flights of steps!! It became rounded, then was rectangular, then became too tiny for two people to squeeze in, it had brown holdings, then red holdings, then no holdings at all. It was an unexpected “Mom what have you done to your children” of sorts, as we were surprised that even after 15 minutes of going through these crazy ass pathways, we STILL weren’t at the top!!
As you can see on the above picture, there was even a moment where the walls were almost squeezing you in and even though the direction was slanted upward, the stairs weren’t exactly equally footed, so you had to use the walls for leverage. Not to brag, but I’ve been an athlete since I was a kid, but I didn’t expect this struggle! HAHA. We lost count of the steps and it took so long that we were wondering when we were ever going to get to the top. That plus how we were going to kill our mother for tricking us into this painful misery. HAHA.
However… Once we got to the top of the dome, all our efforts were rewarded by one of the most beautiful views in all of Rome. We may look like sweaty ickies in our pictures (cause on top of the long climb, it was also non-ventilated and extremely humid and hot) but we were so happy to have survived. May I also add, mother, if you are reading this… That we didn’t even have water to save our parched throats. hahaha.
The dome was literally on top of the Basilica so you are really high on top. There’s a special door on the dome that allows you to walk around in a circle and see the inside of the Basilica. Thank God for those wire thingies that blocked the people from falling off the rails. It could get quite scary for people who are afraid of confined spaces and great heights. Another special treat while looking below? It was amusing cause everyone looked like tiny little ants. :))
You go down the same way you entered, but thankfully, the climb down is way way easier than going up. Included in the fee is the entrance to St. Peter’s Basilica, where we finally got to see the inside of one of the most (if not, THE MOST) famous churches in all of the world.
As usual with everything in The Vatican, everything just seemed so majestic and ominous that it really reminded me that we are only a tiny dot in the existence of mankind. After all, these structures and the treasures that they hold have been here for centuries, and they still exist. What of you and our mortality?
As we made our way back to the square, with jelly legs and thirsty throats, we chanced upon Vatican guards!! They’re quite known to be straight faced all the time, and there’s even the ancient rumor that they’re castrated. Eep. I was honestly so tempted to ask them if it was true. Haha.
All in all, St. Peter’s Basilica was a wonderful experience. I feel sorry that I didn’t get to pass on my mom’s “It’s just a few minutes of stairs. No biggie.” prank. But I feel that it’ll be better for you to have a heads up of the difficult road to the top of the dome. haha. Better bring water and leave heavy ass baggage before going up! BTW, this was the moment that rendered my brogues useless. It finally completely wore out thanks to all the walking.
I can still remember the struggle to get to the top. Haha. Have you guys been to a travel spot that required crazy ass effort just to get there? Share em! Might just add it to my next “kill your muscles” expedition. haha. :))