A view from the top of the stairs

Here we see an example of the bronze crosses that have been embedded into the marble.

Before the steps were officially opened they were blessed.

Blessing of the Holy Stairs presided over by His Eminence Cardinal Angelo De Donatis

The first to kiss the steps

Cardinal Angelo De Donatis led the flock by example, kneeling down and kissing the first step before ascending on his knees.

And the flock followed

The crowd of faithful knelt on the newly restored Holy Stairs (Scala Sancta) to begin their prayerful climb.

The entrance to the Sancta Sanctorum

The Sancta Sanctorum is a Roman Catholic chapel entered via the Scala Sancta (Holy Staircase).

A look at the Laterano Dome, above the entrance to the Sancta Sanctorum

A look at the restoration work of the Holy Stair (Scala Santa), the San Giovanni in Laterano Dome. This entrance was part of the old papal residence, the Lateran Palace.

Through the gate to the Sancta Sanctorum

This was the original private chapel of the papacy before it moved to Avignon, and later to the Vatican Palace. The chapel is the only building from the old Lateran Palace that was not destroyed during its reconstruction.

A view of ancient graffiti

The words of thanks, like those from the Turkish slave we mentioned, were left on the frescoes and they still remain after the restoration.

A day to celebrate

A Eucharistic celebration was held after the Blessing of the Holy Stairs.

Queue of the faithful waiting for the opening

Here's a look at the great crowd of people waiting to see the uncovered steps. This is what visitors should expect to find over the next two months, while the stairs are uncovered to the public for the first time in living memory.