Since we had reversed the order in which we wanted to see the sites, we decided to do the dome before the chapel, a fine decision as we realized later. You can chose climb all the way to the cupola or take an elevator that drops you at the bottom of the dome. We took the elevator, €9 compare to the €7 climb, but worth it.
The elevator dropped us off at the roof level allowing me to see the dome at close range to figure out what the fuss is all about.
The dome is an architectural wonder. Michelangelo worked here from 1547 until he died. He bartered freedom to design it as he pleased for any remuneration for the job.
Michelangelo used two domes for inspiration. The one in Pantheon, a few miles west across the river and the other on in his hometown, Brunelleschi’s in Florence.
Michelangelo never made the master plan public until the very end when he realized the dome would take longer to build than he expected to live. This was partly because he was afraid of the pope requesting changes, but more likely, he never had a master plan.
He figured out how to build it as he went.
It was built, and it stayed built and today dominates the Roman skyline
We then attacked the 300 odd stairs with gusto. The dome within the dome design becomes apparent as you walk between two walls, the passageway varying in its width. At a couple of places, the passageway narrows down, as if stipulating a maximum girth required to make it to the top.
And at a point, you pop-out into the wind. And there you are, suspended over Rome.
(Read on: We are headed to the Vatican Chapel)