The view from the roof of the Dom in Vatican City, St Peter's Basilica. Looking down onto St Peter's Square and out across the city of Rome. Christmas 2008.
In the 1st century AD this site was known as the Circus of Nero, where Nero and Caligula killed and buried hundreds of christians. It is believed this is where St Peter was martyred and buried and in the year 324 Emperor Constantine began construction of a great basilica over the tomb. The shrine of St Peter is still the main focus of the church today.
St Peter's Basilica has the largest interior of any Catholic church in the world and can hold up to 60, 000 people. It is regarded the holiest of holy christian sites.
The Basilica has the most spectacular dome which was designed by Michelangelo. The Dome rises to a height of 136m from the floor and is beautifully decorated with intricate mosaics. Giant gold letters run around the inside of the dome in a message from St Veronica to St Helen and say ''