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La Cupola di Michelangelo e le Scale Senza Fine
Michelangelo's Dome and the Never-Ending Stairs
by Claudia


It was a very hot August day -  faceva molto caldo -  when I visited St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City, Rome.   It was so refreshing to enter the cool air of the huge church.  

It is the largest church in the world!  In Italian, we call it la Basilica di San Pietro in Vaticano, Roma.

St peter's basilica in Rome,Vatican, the

The dome - la cupola - of St. Peter's Basilica is very big and high. 

It was designed by the famous artist

I presumed I would just be looking up at the dome from ground level.  But no!  There is a hidden staircase that takes you all the way up to the top.  So, I decided to go!

Let's go!  Andiamo!!!


A man - un signore - asked if I wanted to take the lift.    I replied 'No, grazie.'  

I've always been a very fast runner and good at sport.  I didn't need the lift.  So, I started to sprint up the winding staircase.

'È facile!' 'This is easy,' I thought. 

I kept climbing and climbing the winding staircase, going round in big circles.  In my head, I was singing:
Giro giro tondo, gira il mondo....

But, the stairs seemed to go on forever, in a never-ending spiral!  Una spirale senza fine!

I felt dizzy - ero stordita - so I slowed down. 

About half an hour later, the stairs came to an end and I was very pleased.  Ero contentissima. 
 'Sono arrivata!'  I've arrived!


A view of the dome, from inside, looking up.

Oh no!  Unfortunately, this was just a half-way point.  Mamma mia!  The stairs continued.......and they became narrower and narrower.  The ceiling became lower and lower.  It was very cramped and uncomfortable.

I could hardly breathe!  No wonder that there are emergency buttons everywhere.  I thought that I might have to press a button and be rescued.  I was feeling very faint.


I carried on up the never-ending stairs. 

Unbelievable!  Non è possibile!  The stairs started to become curved in the shape of the dome. This meant that everyone was bent to one side, crouched AND squeezed in. 

'Surely it won't get any more uncomfortable than this,'  I hoped. 

I was wrong - Ero sbagliata.

The next part was the scariest!  Here there is an extremely narrow staircase and a rope to help pull up your body.  I pretended to be a mountain climber.