The Cupola of St Peter's Basilica in the Vatican can be visited daily - inside and out.
Visits to the dome of St Peter’s are possible every day from 08.00 to 18.00, during April to September, and from 8.00 to 17.00, during October to March.
The cupola was designed by Michelangelo who worked on the basilica's construction beginning in 1547. On Michelangelo's death in 1564, his pupil Giacomo Della Porta took over the direction of the work, completing the dome in 1590.
There are two levels to the climb: the first part takes you to the interior of the dome which offers magnigificent views of the basilica below as well as a chance to see the mosaics up close.
Visitors can either walk the 320 steps or take the elevator, and this part of the visit also includes a trip out onto the roof, behind the statues of Jesus and the Apostles.
The second part of the visit is optional and is for the slightly more adventurous visitor. It involves climbing a total of 551 steps which become progressively narrower and more winding, ending in a tight, corkscrew staircase. If you suffer from claustrophia, this is not for you.
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However once on top of the cupola you will have a bird's-eye view of Vatican City as well as a breathtaking panorama of Rome, spread out 136m below.
The entrance to the dome is at the portico of St Peter's Basilica which is open daily from 07.00 to 19.00 (April-Sept) and from 07.00 to 18.00 (Oct-March).
Entry to St Peter's is free but the cupola climb costs €8 if you take the stairs, or €10 if you take the elevator. Payment in cash only.
For more details about visiting the sites of Vatican City, see the Vatican website.
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Climbing St Peter's dome in the Vatican
Piazza San Pietro, 00120 Città del Vaticano, Vatican City
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