Finally. After 16 months of restoration, the Scala Santa is open once again. This is my favorite thing to do in Rome. I’ve gone up thousands of times. I’ve taken thousands of people with me. I’ve seen so many powerful moments on these steps.
The Scala Santa are the marble stairs that Jesus climbed when He was condemned to death. Brought to Rome in the fourth century, the were placed in the Pope’s private chapel. About 400 years ago, the stairs were covered in walnut wood and opened to the public, allowing the faithful to climb on their knees.
During restoration of the frescos above the stairs, it was decided to renew the baseboards of the wood covering the Scala Santa. Once they saw the condition of the original marble, it was decided to allow the faithful to climb the steps in their original state – for a short time.
The Scala Santa reopened on April 11th with a big media event, blessing, and Mass. As of this writing, just two days later, I’ve already been back four times! I want to go up as many times as possible before the stairs are closed again to cover them back in the walnut wood. That closing is scheduled for June 9th, Pentecost.
The Scala Santa is open daily from 6 AM – 2 PM and 3 PM – 7 PM. I suggest you go early to avoid long lines.
I’ve already visited at different times of day and figured out some of the best ways to go up. In my opinion, going up the wood is much more painful, but going up the marble is much more difficult. Removing the wood exposed these huge indentations, it’s not easy to work around them.