Friday, September 29, 2006

St. Peter's Basilica - View from the Capula

This image of the view from the Cupola of St. Peter's Basilica in Rome is part of one of the panoramic images found on the PanoramicEarth.com Tour of Rome. There are over 100 images taken from around Rome linked to an interactive map.

Full 360° panorama from the Cupola of St. Peter's Basilica.

The view here is from the top of the Cupola of St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. The dome of St. Peter’s is about 140m high. Getting up here may be done either using a purpose built lift or ascending via a long set of stairs. The lift takes passengers to the roof above the main nave. From there all visitors must ascend further sets of steps inside the dome of St. Peter’s. Part way up is a viewing balcony which runs around part of the inside of the dome. This is 53m above the ground and some 67m from the top of the dome. From this vantage point you are able to look down on the ants below scurrying around the Papal Altar and around the nave of the church. The inside of the dome is decorated with fantastic mosaics and lettering. Unfortunately the whole is somewhat obscured by the fine mesh fence making photography from this vantage point impossible.

The stairs continue further up the space between the dome and outer walls, getting progressively narrower and more inclined as the angle of the dome impinges upon them. However, the view from the top is well worth the exercise. From the Cupola you are able to see over the roof of St. Peter’s. In the foreground are the 13 statues of Christ and various disciples and Apostles lining the top of the massive fa├žade. Beyond is St. Peter’s Square, and from this height the travertine lines set into the square are clearly visible radiating from the central obelisk capped with a cross. The ellipses of the colonnades, each made of 4 rows of Doric columns, is clearly visible from this height, and at the focal point of each are 2 fountains.

From St. Peter’s square, past the Piazza Pio XII, the Via della Conciliazione extends off towards the River Tiber and the Castel Sant Angelo, which is now a museum but used to be a papal fortress / residence and prison.

There is an enlargment of this photo of St. Peter's Basilica on Flickr. For more articles on Rome see the Rome Index or select one of the labels at the bottom.

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