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Day 11 Eurotrip 2015 | Rome - The Vatican

Saint Peter Basilica

My last day in Rome is to be spent visiting the Vatican, so I took the Metro Line A from San Giovanni Train Station to Ottaviano Station via Termini Station, and made the short walk to Saint Peter's Basilica. 

Saint Peter Basilica

On arrival at Saint Peter's Basilica, I passed through the security checkpoint (the line for the security checkpoint wasn't too bad early in the morning).

Saint Peter Basilica
Arriving at Saint Peter Basilica prior to passing security
Saint Peter Basilica
The majestic Saint Peter Basilica


The first thing on my agenda is to climb to the top of St Peter's dome. This experience was definitely the highlight of my visit to the Vatican and one of best memories from the Rome trip. 

From the main entrance to the interior of the Basilica, I turned right and made my way towards the ticket office and entry point for the dome climb. The tickets for the dome climb comes in two options of Stairs or Elevator. It is worth noting that although the elevator option is only a few euros more expensive than the stairs option, it really only cuts the amount of stairs you climb to roughly half (i.e. only 320 steps as opposed to 550 steps).

I decided to choose the cheaper option of climbing the whole way to the top. One thing that's worth pointing out is that the stairs are one of the narrowest and smallest I've ever been in. At some points you're climbing up the stairs on an angle as the walls are angled in the direction of the dome.

Saint Peter Basilica
Midway point of the dome climb and exit point of the elevator. The rest of the way up will need to be via the stairs.
Saint Peter Basilica
The interior of the dome as seen prior to the second stage of the climb
Saint Peter Basilica
Looking down at the interior of the Basilica prior to the second stage of the climb

Saint Peter Basilica
Nearly there...
Upon reaching the top of the dome, I was met with excellent views looking out from a height I had yet to experience in Rome. This experience is definitely highly recommended to all visitors who are in a good enough health to climb the required stairs. Some of the amazing views you will see from this point are shown below....

Saint Peter Basilica

Saint Peter Basilica

Saint Peter Basilica

Saint Peter Basilica

Saint Peter Basilica

Saint Peter Basilica

Saint Peter Basilica

After some time, I started making my way back down to the base to visit the interior of the St Peter Basilica.

Saint Peter Basilica

Saint Peter Basilica
The stairs were not very enjoyable as you had very little room or natural lighting
Back at the midpoint of the dome climb, there's a chance to catch your breath with a variety of facilities available including toilets, a small shop that sells souvenirs and snacks and of course a water fountain.

A chance to rest...
After reaching the ground level, I made my way inside the basilica which at this time was starting to get crowded. The entrance to the church was free which is amazing considering it's significance. This is another place where an audio tour from Rick Steve's mobile application proved useful in providing context and relevance to what I am looking at.

Saint Peter Basilica
Entering the Saint Peter Basilica from the main entrance
Saint Peter Basilica
The Main Altar
Saint Peter Basilica
St Peter Statue
Saint Peter Basilica
Dove Window

Vatican Museum

After the basilica, I walked towards the Vatican Museum and was instantly met with a long line of people waiting to buy their ticket to the Vatican Museum. The Vatican Museum is not one of the museums that are included in the Roma Pass, so it is highly recommended that you pre-book your ticket online from the Vatican Museum's website so that you can skip the line.

Walking past the long line of people waiting to buy their tickets, I was very glad to have pre-purchased my tickets online as the summer heat in Rome would have made it an uncomfortable wait.

As I explored the Museum, I have to say that I was slightly disappointed with the experience. Perhaps it's due to the lack of flexibility or freedom to dictate what you see when compared to other museums. e.g. in order to get to the Sistine Chapel, you have to follow a prescribed path through rooms and rooms of artifacts with no option to skip past them (Although I believe some organised tours offer the chance to see the Sistine Chapel via a shortcut not available to the general public). 

Vatican Museum

Vatican Museum

Vatican Museum

Vatican Museum

Vatican Museum

Vatican Museum

Exiting the Sistine Chapel, I had a late lunch of pizza from a cafe inside the Vatican Museum before taking the tube back to central Rome, where I spent the afternoon exploring the streets further before going back to my hostel to pack up.

Check out the rest of my Eurotrip 2015 trip journals below:

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