La Cupola di Michelangelo
Michelangelo's Dome

The Never-Ending Staircase
by Claudia

 It was a very hot August day when I visited St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, so it was nice to go into the cool air of the huge church.  In fact, it is the largest church in the world!  In Italian, we call it La Basilica di San Pietro in Vaticano, Roma.

The dome 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!

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

 A man 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, going round in circles. 

But, the stairs seemed to go on forever, in a never-ending spiral!  This was starting to make me feel dizzy, 
so I slowed down.

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

But 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. 

Oh no! 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.  But, I was wrong. 

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.

'Will this staircase ever end?' I asked myself.  I started 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.  It felt as though I was flying! 

All around I could see the city of Rome. 

(Above:  view from the dome.  Photo by David Iliff. 
Source:  Wikimedia commons.)

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!

The dome was deliberately built directly above the main altar of the church.  Beneath the main altar is Saint Peter's tomb.
In other words - Michelangelo's dome marks the important spot! 

In my opinion, the stairs of St. Peter's dome are very exciting and they lead you to a very special place and
a fantastic view. 

If you want to keep fit, then I can strongly recommend the stairs.  They provide great exercise.  If you don't like going to the gym, then you should take the lift.
 La Fine
The End

Claudia's Italian Vocabulary Book
la scala - the staircase       la cupola - the dome
la chiesa - the church     la cattedrale - the cathedral
  grande - big       l'altare - the altar
in alto - high up        l'ascensore - the lift
piccolo - little        facile - easy         difficile - difficult
Io sono - I am        Io non sono - I am not
veloce - fast       stanco - tired (for a boy)
stanca - tired (for a girl)      molto - very

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