The iconic spiral staircase known as Bramante’s is a historic spot within the Vatican City.

Attracting millions of visitors yearly, the staircase isn’t just a way of transport, but an exceptional piece of artwork.

The Original Bramante Staircase

Unknown to some travellers visiting the Vatican City, there is not just one, but two Bramante Staircases. With the first designed by the famous architect of Tuscany, Donato Bramante, in the early 16th century. The staircase was truly unique in its time, featuring the iconic double helix shape spiral, which although a commonly relate to a strand of DNA today, was unheard of back in this period. The architect’s design was not drawn from at this time, unknown DNA design, but was made like this purely for convenience. As the staircase was created to link the Belvedere Palace to the streets of Rome. Allowing Pope Julius II to travel directly from his private residence by carriage without fuss, with the staircase actually a ramp to hold the carriages rather than stairs. The reason for the two separate spirals was so carriages could travel up and down without interruptions, with one spiral marked for travels up, and the other for travels down. This staircase is truly a stunning sight to see, however, due to its age and fragility, visitors seeing this landmark in person is nearly impossible. As only a few exclusive tour groups allowed access each year!

The Modern Bramante Staircase

The modern Bramante’s Staircase is the newest, and the go-to Bramante Staircase tourists visit when exploring Vatican City. Open to the public every day, being the exit staircase for the Pio-Clementino Museum. The Pio-Clementine Museum displays a large collection of sculptures that were originally commissioned by Pope Julius II, who also created the original Bramante Staircase. The building was created by architects Alessandro Dori, Michelangelo Simonetti, and Giuseppe Camporese and was embellished by a long list of artists over the years. The staircase marks the end of the museum, not just a departure zone, but being an artwork, with many guests staying at the stairs to snap photos and strolling up and down the spirals. One of the best ways to marvel at this landmark is by standing at the very top of the staircase and look straight down. Seeing the full swirl of the stairs and the bustling people going up and down it. Designed by Giuseppe Momo in 1932, it displays the same features to the original. Replicating the double helix shape, so visitors were able to enjoy this exquisite design without seeing the original.

Related article: How much art is in the Vatican?

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