Rome’s Scala Santa or Holy Stairs – a sacred staircase which Jesus Christ is said to have ascended to be sentenced to crucifixion by Pontius Pilate – has been restored to its original state after almost 300 years.
The Holy Stairs are believed by the faithful to be those which led to the praetorium of Pontius Pilate in Jerusalem. According to tradition, the steps were brought to Rome in 326 AD by St Helena, mother of Emperor Constantine.
Before being removed from the stairs, the walnut wood casings had square holes cut out to allow pilgrims to touch the marble beneath, once the timber is resinstalled.
Each year the Holy Stairs attracts around half a million pilgrims who must ascend the steps on their knees, praying along the way.