The Vatican: Stairway to Heaven

The Vatican: Stairway to Heaven

Imagine yourself in total darkness.  You are walking upwards in a stairwell for one.  The stairwell is unsteady, tight, and you can barely breathe.  A light shines through a tiny window.  No, this is not the light at the end of the tunnel.  This setting could be considered the beginning for those that believe in the Roman Catholic Church.

I was very “blessed” to live right outside of Vatican City during my semester in Rome, Italy.  The Vatican was a 10 minute walk from my apartment.  During one of my first days of living in Rome, my roommates and I climbed 312 steps to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica’s dome.

For those in good health, not at risk for heart attacks, and not pregnant, this experience is a MUST DO in Rome.  If you’re afraid of heights, I would most likely sit this one out as well.  For only 5 euros you can have the experience of a lifetime.  You stand on the peak of one of the most iconic churches in the world with an astonishing view of the Eternal City.  If you prefer to avoid the longer, strenuous walk; you can take an elevator to the roof and then walk up to the top of the dome for 7 euros (but it still isn’t easy!).

If you ever find yourself in Vatican City, in addition to the climb, make sure to visit the Vatican Museums.  Here you will find the infamous Pietà, Michelangelo’s depiction of Jesus in Mary’s arms after his crucifixion.  You absolutely cannot leave Vatican City without a visit to the Sistine Chapel.  The ceiling is absolutely breathtaking and unforgettable.

For more information on the Vatican museums visit: http://mv.vatican.va/3_EN/pages/MV_Home.html.

By Samantha Sultzer