Climbing the Dome of St Peters Basilica

If you visit St Peters Basilica, one option once inside is to climb Michelangelo’s dome (cupola.)

There are two parts to climbing St Peters dome: You can take the (231) stairs or the lift/elevator to the first level, and wind up on the inside of Michelangelo’s dome. If you climb the dome to the first level, you can go out onto the roof of Saint Peter’s basilica and see the apostles! The second part is optional. It means taking the next 320 stairs to the tippy top. Not only is there not an elevator, but you will find a narrow single-file staircase that slowly spirals up, with the roof sort of slanting in towards you as you go. And at the very end, as it gets narrower and narrower, you will have a corkscrew staircase, with a rope to hang onto!

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Borghese Gallery

The Galleria Borghese, or Borghese Gallery, features one of the world’s greatest private art collections assembled by Cardinal Scipione Borghese in the 17th century in his Roman garden villa. The collection is particularly rich in ancient Roman, Renaissance, and Baroque art, with major works by Bernini, Titian, Caravaggio, Raphael, Correggio, Rubens, and Canova.

A great thing about the Borghese Gallery is that it has a timed reservation system that keeps the crowds to a minimum; however, it also means that reservations are needed and tickets are limited.

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Discovering the Two Italys


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P.A. Moed

First of all, let’s get one thing straight. Your Italy and our Italia are not the same thing. Italy is a soft drug peddled in predictable packages, such as hills in the sunset, olive groves, lemon trees, white wine, and raven-haired girls. Italia, on the other hand, is a maze. It’s alluring, but complicated. It’s the kind of place that can have you fuming and then purring in the space of a hundred meters, or in the course of ten minutes. Italy is the only workshop in the world that can turn out both Botticellis and Berlusconis.Beppe Severgnini, La Bella Figura: A Field Guide to the Italian Mind

The Two Italys

As I dive deeper into the Italian culture, I have discovered that the famous Italian writer, Beppe Severgnini, is right. There are two Italys.

Let me explain.  The first Italy is beautiful, idyllic, and charming.  It is…

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A sort of stream of consciousness to share….

The layers and layers of history. The fast moving motorcycles. The food, the steaming cappuccino, the spirited people, the bustling open air markets, the gelato, the cozy cafes, late evening dinners, the packed museums, the infinite churches of all sizes, and the storied piazzas, street artists, olive oil, postcards, tourists everywhere, Lots of walking…taking endless pictures, pizza, more pizza, tossing coins into The Trevi Fountain, staring up at the ceiling of The Sistine Chapel, wandering the narrow streets, pasta, the grandness of The Coliseum, the tiny cars, the airy beauty of Piazza Navona….