La Cupola di Michelangelo e le Scale Senza Fine
Michelangelo's Dome and the Never-Ending Stairs
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.
The dome - la cupola - of St. Peter's Basilica is very big and high.
It was designed by the famous artist Michelangelo.
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.
'But when will it end?' I asked myself. Ma quando avrà fine?
I began to lose hope. What was going to happen next?
Finalmente!!! At last!!!!!!! There were no more stairs! I had arrived at the top of the dome. The bright sunshine filled the air. My hard work was rewarded! The view from the balcony was fantastic. I felt as though I was flying!
All around I could see the city of Rome - la città di Roma.
When I looked down below, the people on the ground seemed as small as ants.
Ecco un fatto interessante! Here is an interesting fact:
Did you know that when you are standing at the top of the dome you are actually standing directly above the tomb of Saint Peter? Wow! In Italian it is called la Tomba di Pietro.
The dome was deliberately built directly above the main altar - l'altare maggiore - of the church. Beneath the main altar is Saint Peter's tomb. The underground area where the tomb is situated is called le Grotte Vaticane.
In other words, Michelangelo's dome marks the important spot!
In my opinion, the stairs of St. Peter's dome are very exciting because they lead you to a very special place and a fantastic view.
Il Mio Consiglio - My Advice
If you want to visit the top of the dome you should:
1. Prepare yourself in advance by doing exercise so that you are fit enough,
2. If you aren't feeling fit, take the lift - l'ascensore.