St Peter’s Basilica: The Ultimate Workout
Have you ever been? If so, you may know that climbing to the top of Michelangelo’s dome will add 491 stairs to your workout. And it’s a scary climb – in some spots, the “staircase” is so narrow there’s no room for railings, so there’s a rope that runs down the middle for you to hold on to. And sometimes, it’s both narrow and incredibly slanted. Not good for claustrophobics. You don’t have to climb the whole thing, though – you can take an elevator and save 171 stairs.
The current Basilica is actually the new St. Peter’s Basilica. Old Saint Peter’s Basilica was built by command of Constantine I in 324. It was at there that Charlemagne was crowned the emperor of the Holy Roman Empire on Christmas Day in 800. Not much of the original Basilica remains, but a piece of a mosaic from the eighth century can still be found at Santa Maria in Cosmedin, and eight of the original columns from the old altar were moved to the new (current) St. Peter’s.