St Peter's Basilica - View from Cupola

Guide, Map & Panoramas from Rome.

Photo By Peter Watts

St Peter's Basilica - View from Cupola - PHOTOGRAPHER COMMENT

This panorama from the Cupola of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome was hand held. There is very little room at the top of St. Peter's, and quite a large number of people, making it a difficult environment to work in. Not, mind you, that I would really want to have carried a tripod up the 140m or so to the top. However, once the view of Rome is impressive and makes the climb worthwhile.

St Peter's Basilica - View from Cupola - FURTHER INFORMATION

St Peter's Basilica - View from Cupola - Rome visitor guide showing a virtual tour of 'St Peter's Basilica - View from Cupola' linked to an interactive map with local and travel information. 360° panoramas from Roma.

The dome of St. Peter's Basilica is about 140m high. The way up is either by a purpose built lift or via a long set of stairs. The lift takes passengers to the roof above the main nave. From there all visitors must climb further sets of steps inside the dome of St. Peter's. Part way up is a viewing balcony which runs around part of the inside of the dome. This is 53m above the ground and some 67m from the top of the dome and the cupola.

From this viewing gallery it is possible to look down on the ants below scurrying around the Papal Altar and the enormous nave of St. Peter's. The inside of the dome is decorated with fantastic mosaics and lettering. Unfortunately the whole is somewhat obscured by the fine mesh fence making photography from this vantage point impossible.

The stairs continue further up the space between the dome and outer walls, getting progressively narrower and more inclined as the angle of the dome impinges upon them.

Cupola of St. Peter's Basilica - The view

Once you have arrived at the Cupola you are able to see over the roof of St. Peter's. In the foreground are the 13 statues of Christ and various disciples and Apostles lining the top of the massive façade. Beyond is St. Peter's Square (Piazza San Pietro), built to be the same size and shape as the Colosseum. From this height the travertine lines set into the square are clearly visible radiating from the central obelisk capped with a cross. The ellipses of the colonnades, each made of 4 rows of Doric columns, is clearly visible from this height, and at the focal point of each are 2 fountains. It is hard to imagine what St. Peter's Square would look like were it full of the estimated 300,000 people meant to be able to gather here.

Beyond the Piazza San Pietro the view continues down Via della Conciliazione to the Castel Sant Angelo V (from where you can get another panoramic view over Rome) and the ponte S. Angelo. Half way down this road, on the left, is the church of Santa Maria in Transpontina (Saint Mary's in the Transpontine-district).

The 12C church of Santo Spirito in Sassia (Holy Spirit in Saxony) is a little off to the left on Borgo S. Spirito which runs parallel to the left of Via della Conciliazione. The road to the right of St. Peter's Square enters a tunnel which passes under Villa Barberini before surfacing again at the Ponte Princ Amadeo and crossing the Tiber by the church of S. Giovanni dei Florentini. The famous Monument a Vittorio Emanuele II is just visible in the distance, also on the left of St. Peter's Square.

The rest of Rome extends beyond, and the domes and towers of the numerous churches are difficult to identify.


Metro: Ottaviano (A), S.Pietro (A)
Train: Roma S.Pietro

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