given my ill-fated attempt earlier this week, i returned on a day i knew (or, strongly hoped i knew) the basilica wasn’t closed, and i’m glad i made that decision. again i was there shortly before 8 AM and it was so empty — it felt almost private at times. (LOW SEASON! — that’s totally my mantra for this visit to Rome. love it. the weather, save for a rainy day yesterday, has been amazing, and the crowds relatively non-existent.)
an added benefit of it being the cooler season (cool = high of 63°F today) is that you don’t have to bother to remember to bring clothes to change into or cover up with for entry into the basilica. i can’t imagine many people are being turned away due to dress code violations this time of year (or at least i’d hope not).
on the ground
climbing the dome and cupola
i was doing well for time (i had to keep checking because i was sort of on call for work) so i decided i should climb the dome. the entrance is back outside (the entry line splits to the basilica on the left and the dome on the right) — just exit, make a left to get back to the split, and get into the dome line. (in my case, there was a line of all of three people.) i’m not sure how easily this is done if there are lots of people crowding to get in, so if it looks bad and you want to do both parts, you can do the dome first as the exit drops you right back into the basilica proper.
i paid the extra 2 euro to take the elevator part way. at my age, climbing the remaining 323 steps is quite enough, thank you.
yep, that climb was so worth it! i can’t imagine what it’s like when it’s hot, stifling, and crowded, though. wear your deodorant, watch your bags and pockets, and get ready for maximum squishiness?