I wanted to see the “miraculous staircase” (of course), but I was also curious to see what happens to a little church that’s been deconsecrated, sold into the private sector, and developed for mass tourism. Our visit to the Loretto Chapel exceeded expectations and was certainly worth the $3 admission fee. The chapel is beautiful, and its famous staircase is alone enough to put the place in the “don’t miss” category. (I still can’t figure out exactly how that thing is supported, and it’s hard to believe that it originally didn’t even have a handrail.) Very high in “wow!” factor.
The staircase can be very tricky to photograph. Visitors cluster near it and get in the way. There’s also a flood of backlighting from windows. You can get decent photos if you’re patient and shoot from varying angles.
The associated gift shop is a large, high-visibility operation, as you might expect of a for-profit enterprise. It does have some nice stuff, though, and we ended up spending a fair amount on souvenirs and gifts.More