Saint Peter’s Dome Rome

Saint Peter's Dome above the Vatican Walls

Saint Peter’s Dome is one of the most visible landmarks in Rome. It was designed by Michelangelo, but it was Giacomo della Porta who finished its construction in 1593, after Michelangelo‘s death. At 136 m high, Michelangelo’s dome is the tallest in the world. The total number of steps to climb is 551 and even if you take the lift, you will still have 320 steps to go. 

Saint Peter’s Dome Rome

Address, opening hours and admission

Address: Saint Peter’s Dome is located inside the basilica (Piazza San Pietro). Opening hours: In winter (Oct. 1 – Mar. 31) the dome can be climbed from 8 AM until 5 PM, in summer months (Apr. 1 – Sep. 30) it is open from 8 AM until 6 PM. Admission: If you climb the entire 551 steps the admission cost is 6 Euros; if you take the lift as far as the terrace and climb the remaining 320 steps the cost will be 8 Euros. It is not possible to make a reservation.

History and description

Saint Peter's Dome Rome
Saint Peter’s Dome above the Vatican Walls

Michelangelo started the work in 1546, during the papacy of Paolo III Farnese. When Michelangelo died (1564), work was halted until Giacomo della Porta, together with Domenico Fontana, started again in 1588. They used 800 workers.

The dome consists of two layers.

Initially the idea was to decorate the inside with mosaics. This plan was cancelled when they realized that this way it would be impossible to finish construction before the 1600 Jubilee.

There are metal rings around the inner layer. These were added in the 18th century after cracks had appeared in the cupola’s surface. The bronze globe topping the cupola has a diameter of 3,3 meters.

Piazza San Pietro – Vatican City – Rome

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