I thought I’d create a separate page for the dome at Saint Peter’s Basilica because I’m sure some of you will be asking the same questions I was asking before I went. Let me answer them for you…
1. Is it really worth climbing the dome? Is the view actually that good?
Absolutely! The view is simply stunning – even when the weather is not on your side and the sky is clouded over. I’m addicted to taking photos and I was in my element.
I hate to think what I’d have been like if the weather was better or if I’d been lucky enough to time my visit with a beautiful sunset! No doubt I’d have been taking photos for hours! The view across the rooftops of Rome is incredible and admiring the dome from the inside is an experience not to be missed either.
2. What is included?
The situation always keeps changing. When I visited a few years back, my ticket included VIP entry to the basilica, VIP access to the dome, use of the lift to the first level, an audio guide for the dome and a chance to explore the basilica to my heart’s content after climbing the dome. We’ll do our best to keep everything up to date here as things change. Back again since April 2023 is an accompanied admission with audio guide for EUR 29! We will tell you more about this below.
3. Is it really worth booking online?
Back in April 2016, I was impressed by the fast-track price of EUR 19.50, and I wouldn’t hesitate to buy that ticket again next time. I was just a little sceptical about the cost of a VIP dome ticket, and we were talking about EUR 32 at the time – without guided tour. Now it is “only” EUR 29 and without skip the line at the security check!
But, to be fair, it ended up being worth every cent. You save yourself an hour of waiting around in front of the basilica and can then skip around another half an hour of queueing for the dome. The staff are on hand to help you find your way around and you get an audio guide. You do kind of feel sorry for everyone waiting, but that’s all forgotten once you start to feel a bit like a VIP.
4. Will I make it to the top?
To be honest, I was pretty smug about the fact that I work out regularly.
I managed to get to the top without really getting out of breath. And I’d say that (almost) anyone could manage it!
It’s worth pointing out, though, that the steps get narrower as you get closer to the top, and you may feel a bit dizzy as you climb the last stretch of spiral steps. But it’s nothing you can’t handle!
But remember: If you have any mobility issues, are claustrophobic or know that you tend to struggle with steps, make sure you think carefully about whether you will be able to make it to the top. Pregnant women are advised not to climb the dome.
Remember that there are 320 steps after the lift! And once you’ve gone up, you’ll have to make your way back down!
Why not have a practice on your stairs at home?