St. Peter's Basilica
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St. Peter's Basilica: Tours & Tickets

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The Majestic Architecture of St. Peter's Basilica

The world-famous St. Peter's Basilica took 120 years to complete and involved some of the most talented architects of its time. It's arguably the greatest achievement of late-Renaissance architecture – here are five highlights amongst its countless marvels.

St. Peter's Square

The magnificent entrance to the Basilica consists of a gigantic square, featuring a 25-meter obelisk at the center, encircled by colossal Tuscan collonades four columns deep.

The Facade

The Basilica's facade, designed by Baroque architect Maderno, is 114 meters wide and 45 meters tall. Built entirely from travertine stone, it's quite simply breathtaking.

The Nave

The opulent interiors, including Maderno's lavishly-decorated nave, are so immense that it can be hard to judge the building's proportions.

The Dome

At 136 meters, Michelangelo's famous dome is the tallest dome in the world. It stands proud in Rome's skyline and offers a staggering panorama of the city.

Vatican Grottoes

Below the Basilica, there's a large network of tunnels housing the Vatican Grottoes. Many popes are buried here, including John Paul II and the first ever pope, St. Peter himself.

St. Peter's Basilica: Our Tips

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 7:00am until 7:00pm, while from October to March, the basilica is open from 7:00am until 6:00pm. Note that most mornings, the queues are already snaking around the square by 11am.

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 10:30am, but most visitors arrive earlier to score a good seat. Security opens between 8am and 8:30am.

Good to Know

  • When to visit
    7AM - 6:30PM daily.
  • What is the price?
    Ticket prices vary depending on group size.
  • Will I need a guide?
  • 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 tips
    • 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.

What People Are Saying About St. Peter's Basilica

An absolute highlight of our three weeks in Italy!

Mercedes did a superb job of showing us St. Peters in all of its glories. She was very knowledgeable, very sensitive to the interests of her audience, and managed a pace perfectly suited to her group. Highly recommended!
St. Peter's Basilica Guided Tour Reviewed by Wayne, 10/18/2016

Great views of the Vatican area and Rome

Great views of Rome and the Vatican. Line moved fast compared to other Vatican tours. However it was a bit chaotic at the top but it was a beautiful day for photographs.
Skip-the-Line St. Peter's Top of the Dome Reviewed by Donald, 10/16/2016

A great experience that's well worth doing

A great Segway experience with Olef. Taught us to ride the Segway then expertly guided us around the amazing city of Rome. His knowledge of Rome is to be applauded and his delivery was great too. A really great and fun way to see thus amazing city.

A good way to get to see the 4 main Basilicas.

The trip as advertised was not what was delivered. We booked a private Vatican tour and received a 2hr Vatican Express tour then a separate tour of the 3 Basilicas to enter the Holy Doors.
Rome: Vatican City Full-Day Jubilee Tour Reviewed by gregory, 10/14/2016

14 Newbies learned how to ride and had lots of fun!

14 people who had never been on a Segway were quickly and very competently taught how to ride one safely and effectively, then set off for a fun guided tour of ancient Rome with good explanations along the route from excellent guides. Pretty soon, we were all zipping around like we had been born on these machines. We all had a wonderful and informative evening together.
Rome by Night on Segway Reviewed by Dick, 10/06/2016

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St. Peter's Basilica
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