It's inside The Vatican in Rome - and it's magnificent!
When we planned our visit to Rome, this staircase was on the top of my list. Sure, it's been shot millions of times by others, but I had to see it and shoot it for myself. It's just way too interesting to skip over it.
Many people call this the Bramante Staircase, but actually that is not it's name. It is patterned after the original Bramante Staircase, which is elsewhere in the Vatican Museum and is not viewable. This one is called the Momo Staircase, or simply the Spiral Staircase. It's sort of a double helix implementation, and it's incredible.
We took a Vatican Museum tour that started early one morning, and I was excited because the tour let us in prior to the opening time for the general public. This was by design, knowing that it would mean there would be less people in my shots. It worked out great! We wandered all over the Vatican Museums and I was able to take a lot of photos without too many people in them.
But it was nearing the end of the tour and I still had not seen this staircase, so I was getting nervous. I knew it was in the Vatican Museum, but where? Well, the tour group stopped for a bathroom break, and I took those few moments to wander a little bit. I had read that the staircase used to be a main exit, and since we were near the end of the tour, I figured we had to be close.
Luckily, it was only about 20 yards from where our group stopped. I found it in a minute or so, and fired away happily. All of my shots were from the top looking down (the same view you have likely seen before), and the staircase was closed, so I could not go walking down it, but nonetheless I was able to get some shots. It's a joy to find and photograph something like this that you have wanted to see for a long time.