A St. Peter’s Basilica Checklist | Vatican City, Rome, Italy
If I’m being completely honest, Rome was one of the cities that depleted every bit of my energy clean. There was just so much to see and so many steps to take. Now I, for one, love walking – because there’s so much more to see along the way – but I feel like I crossed the line of exhaustion that day. Lesson learned, kids. When in Rome, don’t take shuttles for granted and never underestimate the joy a hop-on-hop-off bus can give.
Moving on to the real purpose of this entry, St. Peter’s Basilica was breathtakingly beautiful. If there’s one thing Europe loves, it’s their attractive churches. The designs are as breathtaking on the outside and the inside. Granted that I haven’t been to many churches in Europe, I just knew I couldn’t leave Vatican city without taking a peep inside the well-known St. Peter’s Basilica.
5 Must Dos at the St. Peter’s Basilica
1. Ogle From The Outside
St. Peter’s Basilica is as beautiful from afar as it is from up close. It’s a giant, really, and I don’t think I’ve been this floored with a church of this magnitude before. Then again, I shouldn’t have expected anything less from Vatican City.
There are two main ways to enter the Basilica – one is through the side, where most of the crowds line up to have bags checked by security. Another is through the Holy Door. We were in luck during our visit because a friend of ours said to pass through the Holy Door to avoid the long queues. Apparently, the Pope opened the Holy Door during that period, so we had a fuss free and quick entrance.
2. Celebrate Mass with the Pope
The Pope usually celebrates Mass at the Vatican on Wednesdays at 10am. Seats tend to fill up fast, so I suggest arriving as early as 9am to grab a good spot.
Tickets for a Papal Mass are free yet limited in number. If you can, try reserving yours in advance through the Santa Susana website or the Santa Susana church.
3. Look at the Ceiling
It’s so easy to be awed by the Basilica. There are just so much to take in.
I won’t be posting a lot photos of the interiors because I think there’d be more value in seeing them in person. That being said, if you do get to visit the Basilica, let your eyes wander up. The details along the ceiling walls are so intricate it’d be a shame to miss them.
4. See the Sights From Above
When inside the St. Peter’s Basilica, don’t forget to go up to the dome. From there, you can marvel at the amazing views of Rome.
My favorite part had to be when we looked down into the church. All the people inside looked like ants and looking at the church from a bird’s eye view turned into an opportunity to appreciate the interiors from a different perspective.
The steps leading up to the dome can be pretty challenging, so remember to wear comfy shoes on this trip. There are two ways to reach the top. One is to pay the entry of 5 Euros to climb about 550 steps – what a workout. Another is to pay 8 Euros to take the elevator, subtracting 320 steps from your ascend. You’d still need to go on the remaining flights of stairs in order to reach the top, but in my opinion, the views are well worth it.
P.S. The stairs can make you feel a little dizzy because they coil in a spiral. Also, there may be a few tight spaces along the way, so you may have to duck your head a few times.
5. Touch the St. Peter Statue
St. Peter is said to be the gatekeeper of Heaven, which is why many come to him and ask pardon for their sins. Both tourists and Romans alike wait in line to touch (and sometimes kiss) the feet of the much-loved Saint, in the hopes that he will open the gate for them once they pass.
All that walking can work up an appetite, so take a bite at some of Rome’s best eats. One restaurant we went head over heels for is Ristorante Calabascio. It’s a a pretty fancy restaurant within walking distance from the Vatican. But don’t be intimidated, prices are relatively standard – a plate of homemade pasta costs 14 Euros.
Vergs and I opted for a Calzone Calabascio and a serving of pasta – because when in Italy, you can’t not order freshly made pasta. The restaurant even went the extra mile and whipped up a special dish for us because we told the waiter we wanted to try the mussels and clams but preferred fettuccine as our base.
A few minutes after, we were served a plate of this bad boy, and were basically changed for life. Nothing will ever come close to the plate of pasta. IT WAS JUST TOO GOOD.