St. Peter’s Basilica’s dome is a masterpiece of Renaissance architecture and engineering and one of the most iconic features of the Vatican City skyline.
The dome is the largest in the world and stands at 136.57 meters (448 feet).
Italian architect and engineer Michelangelo designed it, and construction began in 1547 and ended in 1590.
The dome has a double shell structure and iron chains reinforce its inner layers.
It comprises eight stone ribs that rest on 12 stone piers and Biblical scenes, symbols, and inscriptions decorate these surfaces.
A cross and a bronze ball top the lantern at the dome’s apex, and a light from within the altar illuminates it.
Made of travertine limestone and decorated with statues of saints, the dome’s exterior is as intricate as the interior.
The dome’s interior depicts the life story of St. Peter and St. Paul, as well as scenes from the life of Jesus.
The dome also contains several tombs, including those of St. Peter, Pope Alexander VII, and Pope Clement XIV.
St. Peter’s Basilica Dome Climb
Visitors to the basilica can climb to the top of the dome, which offers stunning views of Rome and the surrounding area.
The dome is a popular tourist attraction; visitors can take an elevator or stairs to the top for a spectacular view of the city.
The climb is not for the faint of heart, as it involves ascending over 500 steps to reach the top.
However, the view from the top is well worth the effort.
If you’re interested in climbing and exploring the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica, book a tour with dome access to get the best experience.
Featured Image: Bruno Coelho / Bruno Coelho