We’ve talked about our approach to sightseeing before and while we don’t stress over visiting all the sights any more, there are a few places in the world that we simply cannot miss, even if we have visited them a few times before.
St. Peter’s Basilica is one of them. We could be in Rome with friends, with family, rain or shine… but we always find a bit of time to visit this breathtaking, sumptuous building. It can be overwhelming, it can be terribly crowded and it can certainly feel soulless. But it is one of the most beautiful things built by men. So here you have a few tips to make the most of your visit:
1 – Get up early. It opens its doors at 7 o’clock, so be there as early as you can. It’s the best way to avoid the crowds and the faded morning light not only makes the atmosphere magical, but also creates fascinating effects over the marble.
2 – Cover yourself: this tip is ridiculous or at least feels that way. Even though we are in 2016, we almost couldn’t visit the basilica last month because our arms were uncovered. I’m not talking about shoulders or cleavage. And our legs were totally covered. This was inappropriate for one of the guards because you have to pass three modesty controls. Since the other two guards said it was fine, we could make it. But, of course this happens only if you are a woman. You, devil temptation! In our opinion this is absurd. The basilica is a museum and it’s treated that way since you pay for your visit to certain areas, there is just one chapel to pray quietly and you can’t even light a candle. It’s all about art and that’s fine by us, of course. But visitors should be treated accordingly.
3 – Visit the dome. It’s absolutely fantastic. A masterpiece. Enjoy the ascent (it definitely counts as cardio) and be rewarded with the unique views from the top. But pay the extra 2 euros to take the elevator in the first section. You will be very fatigued later! And talking about euros, don’t forget to bring cash since they might ask you for the exact amount of money (8 €).
4 – Be careful with the guides that offer shorcuts to enter the basilica. Bear in mind that the lines to pass the security control move fast and these people tend to exaggerate the waiting times.
5 – Isolate yourself from tourist groups, selfie sticks and the sea of cameras. There is no building like this one in the world so take your ime to mindfully admire the details, the excessive proportions, the luxurious materials. And look up!