Inside Michelangelo's main dome of St. Peter's Basilica
Michelangelo's dome of St. Peter's rises to a total height of 448 feet (136.57
meters) and is the tallest dome in the world. Its internal diameter is
136 feet (41.47 meters), slightly smaller than the Pantheon of Ancient
Rome and Florence Cathedral of the early Renaissance.
Rising above the alter, it is
supported by four 120 meter high piers. Around the base of the dome are
the words from Matthew's Gospel:
"Tu es Petrus et super hanc petram aedificabo ecclesiam mean et tibi
dabo claves regni caelorum"
("You are 'Rock' and on this rock I will build my Church, to you I will
give the keys of the kingdom of heaven." Mt 16:18)
The gigantic black text is lit by the light from 16 large windows, typical
of Michelangelo's style, which punctuate the drum. Above the windows, the
dome is divided into sixteen ribs and as many segments, decorated by
majestic figures on six ascending concentric levels.