You know I love a good church, especially if it’s climbable. St. Peter’s Basilica is probably the climbable church, considering it’s the biggest church in the world, with around 5,000,000 square metres in it’s interior and exterior.
It’s also inside the Vatican City, a country built on Catholicism and the home of the pope. To me, that’s pretty churchy. Does this mean the views must be amazing? Probably.Firstly, you can visit the Vatican City to climb St Peter’s Basilica without ever going inside the church itself. That’s a shame, in my opinion because the church is magnificent from inside. There is the body of the mummified pope, John XXIII, the Michelangelo sculpture, Pietá, of Mary and Jesus, and four large columns supporting the dome, also designed by Michelangelo, which are thick enough to fit a smaller church inside each pillar.It’s hard to get the scale when you are inside a building so big, but one thing to keep in mind is when you see the words written across the ceiling, each letter is over 2m tall and that should give you some perspective.There is an option to climb the entire Church, or get the lift up to a mid point, then climb the rest. I’m usually all for stairs, but on that particular day, when the weather was 34ºc and I was wearing Vatican-chic jeans, the lift seemed like the better choice.Interestingly, when you climb to the top of the dome, you are actually climbing inside the two domes that Michelangelo designed. It can get lopsided towards the top, but once you are up there, the views are incredible, if not extremely unusual.It’s amazing to see the entire country of the Vatican City, and look beyond to Rome, Italy. It’s a strange experience, but beautiful nonetheless.