The Scala Sancta is a small stair leading up through a room which is built around the stair. The building is fairly unimpressive building by the standard of churches in Rome. But the building is one of the most important places of worship in the Catholic world since these steps are thought to have been the stair within the house of Pontius Pilatus in Jerusalem and the last stair Jesus walk on prior to his death on the cross.
To preserve the stair the original 28 marble steps they have been encased in walnut wood. And you are not allowed to walk the step on your feet – you may only climb it on your knees. According to legend you can still see the blood of Jesus through glass on some of the steps – I do not know if this is true since I didn’t climb the stair on my knees instead I went to the top of it using one of the two stairs to either side of the Scala Sancta.
According to legend the Scala Sancta was brought to Rome in 326 by the mother of Constantine – the later Saint Helena. The stairs has been in their current location since 1589 when pope Sixtus V decided to move it here and build the surrounding buildings.
Several popes have climbed the steps on their knees during history – and Martin Luther has done it as well.