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St. Peter's Square, Rome Italy Rome

It is impossible to say too much about Rome, which we visited in 2003. A big city with a more significant history than any other city in the world, at its height, Rome was civilization itself. Every place in the world was either Roman or it was barbarian.

Today, Rome is a city with the worst traffic and the some of grandest sights you will ever see. It is a mandatory stop on every world traveler's list. Everyone should see St. Peter's Cathedral and the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel sometime in his life.

Probably the best view in Rome is from the top of the Basilica dome at St. Peter's. There are two parts of the trip to get to the top. First, you take an elevator to the dome's mid-level. From there, if you want to get to the cupola and this view, you have to climb some stairs.

"Climb some stairs" is an understatement. I am from a country where people sue to get wider movie theater seats because they have grown too fat for normal seats. A country where everything is built to be accessible for everybody, no matter how tall, short, thin, or thick. From my perspective, the stairs of St. Peter's dome were something of a shock. Stuffy, sweaty, and claustrophobic, they spiral up the space between the exterior and interior dome walls, just wide enough for a medium-sized person to fit. The walk takes 15 or 20 minutes and must be brutal in the summertime, but this view is worth it.

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