After a dawn visit to a tourist free St Peter's Square, breathtaking in golden hour sunshine, my camera and I climbed to the dome.
Looking down on Rome I was struck by the line of statues beneath me, along the facade of the basilica, standing majestically above the piazza. Amongst all the grandeur, they too had a story to tell.
And it's possible to stand immediately behind the statues and share the view these travertine sculptures have enjoyed since the 17th century.
Between 1612-14 Pope Paul IV commissioned Ambrogio Buonvicino from Milan to design the statues, which were sculpted by sculptors each paid the same amount, regardless of the size of the sculpture.
Each saint is holding a reference to the way they were put to death, the symbols of their martyrdom cast in bronze.