St. Peter's Basilica

Enter your dates to find available activities

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

    1. 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 colonnades four columns deep.

  • The Facade

    2. 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

    3. 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

    4. 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

    5. 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.

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 21,593 reviews

The elevator to the terrace is nice, but before warned there are an additional 300 steps to climb to the top of the dome. The stairs are tilted and leaning and winding as the dome curves upwards. It was fantastic for our group of 4, As it was high on our list of things to do. But it might be too strenuous for some people. The guide was really kind and informative.

Great tour, educated guide, good explanation on where to go to meet (make sure to go to the pin on the map and don't let google maps confuse you, try to be a little early). Would do this again so you don't miss important points at the sites.

Marle was exceptional, she is a walking encyclopaedia Brittanica. Absolutely fascinating to learn about everything and anything. Hats off to Marle, by far one of the greatest guides I have ever had the pleasure to encounter.

Daniele was such welcoming and knowledgable guide! I learnt a huge amount about a place I had never been before! The tour wasn’t rushed and was great value for money. Thank you!

Great audio guide and very versatile. Explain the entire Basilica