What is the Bramante Staircase?

The Bramante Staircase is the name given to two separate staircases within the Vatican Museum’s Pio-Clementino Museum. The original Bramante’s Staircase was built in 1505, while the modern one was built in 1932 and was based on the original. Seen as a revolutionary architectural wonder of that time, with the iconic spiralling structure which gained its popularity in past and present time.

The First Bramante’s Staircase

The first Bramante staircase was constructed in 1505 by the famous architect of Tuscany, Donato Bramante. It was commissioned by Pope Julius II, to link the Belvedere Palace to the streets of Rome. Allowing the Pope Julius II to travel directly to his private residence by carriage. This was made possible by the fact that the staircase, did not have stairs, but was a paved ramp that spiralled up towards the Pope’s palace. It was shaped in a double helix staircase form, now associated with the strand of DNA, but at the time was a never seen before. The real reason for this design was for convenience as it allowed traffic coming from both ways to travel up or down without any interruptions.

The Second Bramante’s Staircase

The second staircase is also located in the Pio-Clementino Museum. It is apart of the path that all visitors take when leaving the building, marking the end point of the museum tour. Designed by Giuseppe Momo in 1932, the staircase represents similar features and styles as the original. Replicates the double helix shape, which has offered the spectacular view of standing at the very top of this staircase to watch as streams of people spiral down to the ground floor.

How to see these Staircases

Unfortunately, the original staircase is limited for viewing, only allowing an exclusive number of visitors. If you are lucky enough to view this ancient structure, you cannot walk along the ramps but can view the spirals from above. Marvel at the master craftsmanship on such an ancient structure is amazing, to say the least. The modern staircase is available to view and walk on throughout the week. Acting as an exit/entrance to the museum. Take the iconic spiral photo of the stairs when you reach the very top.

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