St. Peter's Basilica

The center of the Catholic world, this magnificent basilica was built on the burial site of the apostle Peter.

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St. Peter's Basilica: Our most recommended tours and activities

Rome: St. Peter's Basilica Dome to Underground Grottoes Tour

1. Rome: St. Peter's Basilica Dome to Underground Grottoes Tour

Explore iconic sights in Rome on this guided walking tour. Stroll thorugh St. Peter's square and take in the views of the city from the top of St. Peter's Basilica. Admire artwork like Michelangelo's emotive 'Pietà' statue and go below the Basilica to uncover St. Peter's final resting place. Meet your guide in St. Peter’s Square then start the tour by climbing your way to the top of the Basilica’s dome. Enjoy an exclusive look at the Dome’s impressive mosaics then head further up to the top balcony. From here, marvel at panoramic views across the city, spot the Colosseum, the Pantheon, and other iconic landmarks. Descend into the Basilica and admire its impressive interior and discover why it took 150 years to build. Gaze at the colorful marble, golden ceilings, and intricate mosaics that surround you. Learn about the renowned works of Renaissance and Neoclassic artists that are housed here.  Next, head underground to the Basilica’s historic grottoes and visit St. Peter’s Tomb. Touch the ancient walls of the original 4th-century Basilica and admire its beautiful frescoes. Finish the tour in St. Peter’s Square and soak up its majestic architecture. 

Rome: St. Peter's Basilica Guided Tour

2. Rome: St. Peter's Basilica Guided Tour

Explore St. Peter's Basilica, the Renaissance-style church with its dome that dominates the skyline of Rome. Discover why the American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson described it as "an ornament of the earth...the sublime of the beautiful". Marvel at the interior, lavishly decorated with marble, reliefs, architectural sculpture, and gilding. Discover the underground Chapel of the Confession and marvel at its curving marble staircases. After the tour, you can use the online Rome City Guide, a self-guided audio tour with stories from local experts, which is included in the experience. Learn about the city's points of interest, hidden gems, public transport, Wi-Fi access points, and best photo stops.

Saint Peter's Basilica Official Audioguide

3. Saint Peter's Basilica Official Audioguide

Explore one of Rome's most famous and magnificent sites! Discover why the American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson described this site as "an ornament of the earth … the sublime of the beautiful". St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican is the primary temple of Christianity, and is built in the Renaissance style, with a central dome dominating the skyline of Rome. As you enter the church, you will see that its interior is much bigger than those of any other cathedral. Using an official audio-guide of the Basilica, you can start your visit at any point of the church, without having to follow the order dictated by the presence of a guide. You can decide, for example, to begin with the heart of the Basilica, beneath the high altar and the Bernini's Baldachin, where you will discover the “Confession” or “Chapel of the Confession”, in reference to the confession of faith by St. Peter, which led to his martyrdom and burial place. You may choose to end with "La Pietà", the masterpiece of Michelangelo Buonarroti, or with the St. Peter's bronze statue (so worshipped by all the pilgrims visiting over the centuries).

Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica: Early Morning Tour

4. Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica: Early Morning Tour

Join the more than five million annual visitors of the global heart of the Catholic Faith. Experience the Vatican City, the entirety of which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, fully with privileged access to the main attractions before the general public arrives. From its stunning beauty to its ancient history and artistic and religious significance, the Vatican is a one-stop-shop for any traveler. Whether the paintings, sculptures, religious art, architecture, or even the Pontifical Swiss Guards that have protected the Pope since 1506, little else compares to the utter majesty of the Holy See. Start discovering the beauty of the Vatican at 7:30 AM in the absence of crowds. Wander the Vatican Museums, the famous Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter’s Basilica surrounded by very few. Explore the museums at your own pace and leave the rest of the day free to enjoy Italy. Follow your expert guide into the Museums to discover the world’s most extensive collection of art, including the greatest sculptures and artwork of the Renaissance period. Continue through the Candelabra Gallery, divided into six splendid rooms containing artworks found throughout the country, bringing relics of the Roman Empire into the modern-day. Then explore the astonishing Gallery of the Tapestries, host to an extensive collection of Raffaello Sanzio’s tapestries depicting different Catholic stories and myths. From there, walk through the Gallery of Maps with your guide, the perfect place for travelers with a taste for the sciences. Check out the global maps created by Roman topographers — a glimpse into what the world was thought to look like centuries ago.

Rome: St Peter’s Basilica With Dome Climb Early Morning Tour

5. Rome: St Peter’s Basilica With Dome Climb Early Morning Tour

Experience an extraordinary tour with a local guide who will show you around St. Peter’s Square, and Vatican City. In the Basilica, See the first viewing point through the Dome's elevator. Then climb up to the remaining steps towards the summit of the Basilica’s Dome. Be among the few to witness a breathtaking view of Vatican City and its iconic seven hills. Make sure to take photographs as evidence from a once-in-a-lifetime experience from the top of the famous Vatican summit. Go back inside the sacred Basilica with instant access. Enjoy your time and stroll at your own pace. Don't miss the historical insights that the archeological site has to offer.

Vatican, Sistine Chapel and St Peters Basilica Tour

6. Vatican, Sistine Chapel and St Peters Basilica Tour

Discover the best of the Vatican in a single visit. Skip the ticket line to the key attractions and see outstanding examples of art and architecture in the company of your expert guide. Discover the frescoes of the Raphael Rooms. Explore the amazing collections of the Vatican Museums, including the Map Rooms and the sculpture of Hermes. Enjoy the beauty of the Sistine Chapel, and marvel at masterpieces by Michelangelo and Raphael. Then, take a tour of St Peter’s Basilica. Admire the world's center of Christianity and discover more about its fascinating history with your guide.

Rome: City Highlights, Vatican Pass and Free Transport

7. Rome: City Highlights, Vatican Pass and Free Transport

Make your stay in Rome an unforgettable and unique experience with the 3-day OMNIA Vatican Card and Roma Pass. It’s actually 2 passes rolled into one. Roma Pass grants you free entry to 2 out of 5 top attractions plus discounts at a further 30 top sights and a travel card. The OMNIA Vatican Card allows entry to all top sights in Vatican City plus a 3-day hop-on hop-off bus tour. You will also receive a free guidebook and map to help you plan your itinerary as well as dedicated itineraries that allow you to explore the city at your own pace. The OMNIA Card includes: • Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel - advanced reservation needed (instructions on the confirmation voucher) • Entrance to the Basilica of St. John in the Lateran and cloister with multimedia audio-guide • Entrance to St. Peter’s Basilica including multilingual audio-guide app - advanced reservation needed (instructions on the confirmation voucher) • Carcer Tullianum / Mamertine Prison (St Peter's Prison) - advanced reservations required (instructions on the confirmation voucher) • Vox City Guide app • Open Bus Vatican and Rome / Roma Cristiana The Roma Pass includes free admission to 2 of the following attractions (adult tickets only): • Capitoline Museums • Castel Sant'Angelo • The Colosseum, Roman Forum & Palatine Hill - advanced reservation needed (instructions on the confirmation voucher) • Borghese Gallery - advanced reservation needed (instructions on the confirmation voucher) It also includes price reductions to many museums and attractions, including the following: Museums: • Castel Sant'Angelo National Museum • National Roman Museum – Palazzo Massimo alle Terme • National Roman Museum – Palazzo Altemps • National Roman Museum – Crypta Balbi • National Roman Museum – Baths of Diocletian • National Gallery in Palazzo Barberini • Etruscan Museum of Villa Giulia • Musei Capitolini • Centrale Montemartini • National Museum of Oriental Art • MACRO - Museo d'Arte Contemporanea Roma • MAXXI - National Museum of XXI Century Arts • Planetarium and astronomical museum Attractions: • Trajan's Market • Palazzo Valentini – Archaeological Area of the Domus Romane • Ara Pacis Roma Cristiana Open Bus Tour. This panoramic hop-on hop-off bus tour stops at: 1. Saint Peter's Basilica 2. Piazza Navona 3. Santa Maria ad Martyres Pantheon 4. Santa Maria in Aracoeli 5. Termini Central Station 6. Santa Maria Maggiore 7. San Giovanni - Holy Stairs 8. Colosseum - Roman Forum 9. Circus Maximus 10. Tiber Island 11. Palazzo Farnese

Vatican Museums Early Entry Tour with Buffet Breakfast

8. Vatican Museums Early Entry Tour with Buffet Breakfast

Have the Vatican to yourself on this exclusive early morning tour that whisks you through closed doors for a buffet breakfast in the peaceful Pinecone Courtyard, before anyone else enters the museums. While the general public waits in line outside, feast on an Italian-American breakfast buffet of cooked-to-order eggs, meats, cheeses, muffins, croissants, fresh fruits, cereals, and even pancakes, flipped by the Vatican's pancake chef. Dining in the beautiful Pinecone Courtyard, alongside one of the Vatican Museums' most beautiful works of modern art, experience a level of tranquility rarely seen by Vatican visitors. Then follow your guide to explore the Vatican Museums. Still closed to the general public, the Museums are quieter now than throughout the rest of the day. With only 10 people per group, have time and space to really appreciate the art. See rooms such as the Hall of Maps, Gallery of the Tapestries, Gallery of the Candelabra and incredible Raphael Rooms. Your guide will bring works of art to life, pointing out things you would have missed on your own. Continue to the legendary Sistine Chapel. Then, skip the ticket lines to enter St. Peter’s Basilica. See the altar and marvel at Michelangelo’s La Pietà sculpture.

Rome: Entire Vatican Tour & St. Peter's Dome Climb

9. Rome: Entire Vatican Tour & St. Peter's Dome Climb

Meet your expert Vatican guide by St. Peter's Square - a quick ascension by elevator later will carry you up to the top of the dome from where you can see all of Rome and far beyond Rome too. The views are absolutely spectacular. Back on terra firma you will tour the entirety of St. Peter's Basilica - this in itself is rare as most other Rome tour operators do not include it in their Vatican tours. Take a break before making the short walk to the comfortable customer center ahead of your second tour to the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. Genuine skip-the-line access means that you will be fast tracked to the artistic and archaeological masterpieces which make the Vatican Museums absolutely must-sees when in Rome.

Rome: St. Peter's Basilica, Square and Grottoes Guided Tour

10. Rome: St. Peter's Basilica, Square and Grottoes Guided Tour

Embark on a guided tour of Rome to discover the history and the secrets of St. Peter's Basilica, the largest Basilica in the world. Admire the stunning architecture, famous artworks, and visit the Papal Grottoes. After meeting your guide, explore the wonders that fill the Basilica. Follow your guide as you discover the past of St. Peter’s Basilica and marvel at its grand interior, covered in gold and breathtaking colors. See the artworks that were created by Michelangelo, Bernini, and Bramante, a focal point for religion and a representative of the beauty of the Renaissance and Baroque eras. After visiting the Basilica, head to the Papal Grottoes, where the previous pontiffs were buried. Get indications to visit the St. Peter’s Dome on request at the end of the tour. Before entering the Basilica there is a mandatory security check, therefore this might cause the creation of a queue that cannot be skipped.

Planning Your Visit

  • Mind the Dress Code

    As a Catholic building, appropriate clothing is required to enter St. Peter's Basilica. Regardless of the high temperatures in Rome during the summer, shorts, bare shoulders and miniskirts are not allowed – the dress code is strictly enforced.

  • Arrive Early to Avoid the Lines

    The queues to enter St. Peter's Basilica can get extremely long. It's therefore a good idea to arrive early, especially at the height of summer when temperatures can be sweltering. From April to September, the basilica's opening hours are from 7:00 AM until 7:00 PM, while from October to March, the basilica is open from 7:00 AM until 6:00 PM. Note that most mornings, the queues are already snaking around the square by 11:00 AM.

  • See the Pope

    Every Wednesday, the Pope holds a public audience on St. Peter’s Square, and in the Audience Hall during winter. The audience starts at 10:30 AM, but most visitors arrive earlier to score a good seat. Security opens between 8:00 AM and 8:30 AM.

Good to know

  • When should I visit?
    Open daily, 7:00 AM-6:00 PM
    Wednesdays (Papal audience), 12:00 PM-6:00 PM
    Holiday hours may vary
  • Is it expensive?
    Ticket prices vary depending on group size.
  • Will I need a guide?
    Recommended!
  • How to get there
    Buses 64, 60, and 40 will get you to the Vatican City. Alternatively, take the red metro line to Cipro station.
  • Additional information

    • Bring a covering for your shoulders, and do not wear shorts or short skirts.

    • Use sunscreen and bring water for when you are waiting in line outside.

Other Sightseeing Options in St. Peter's Basilica

Want to discover all there is to do in St. Peter's Basilica? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about St. Peter's Basilica

Overall rating

4.4 / 5

based on 48,788 reviews

This tour was everything we wanted. Mossimo was an EXCELLENT tour guide. He was extremely knowledgeable, humorous and kept the tour interesting. My family and I were lost returning to the tour after the lunch break. We ended up running into Mossimo- he had gone to look for us. That was so kind of him. We were very grateful as we didn’t want to miss the second half of the tour. Highly recommend the tour, and highly recommend Mossimo!!

The walk thru the museum is a little tiresome. If you are not interested in art, art and more art…try for just the Sistine Chapel an St Peter’s. By the time you get into St Peter’s you will be exhausted. This process is 2/3 Museum, 1/6 Sistine Chapel and 1/6 St Peter’s.

Maria was WONDERFUL! Her vast knowledge made this tour one to remember. She was equally as lovely and also was able to accommodate a small child with tremendous grace. We are grateful to have met her and share this experience!

booked the German tour and there were only four of us. Mariecella was great and with her knowledge she also made the "queuing time" at the security checks entertaining. We would book them again in a heartbeat!

Raul was very attentive, eloquent and engaging. We enjoyed the tour very much.