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

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

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 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

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

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.

Our insider 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 7:00 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.

What people are saying about St. Peter's Basilica

Overall rating
4.4 / 5
based on 83,683 reviews

Our tour guide (Chiara) was the best in showing us around the Basilica. She had a good explanation and was super helpful. The Basilica in itself is a beauty to visit. I did however disliked the fact we could not visit the papal tombs. I did read the fine print, which stated that the papal tombs can be closed off by the Vatican, where the guide would show us more of the Basilica. Nevertheless I did not like the fact it was closed on short notice, making us unable to visit.

St. Peter's Basilica Guided Tour with Dome Climb Reviewed by

We had our Vatican dome climb and museum tour booked and we had an excellent tour guide in Chiara. She had lots of knowledge and enthusiasm about art and shared so many interesting facts making our tour super enjoyable!We are very thankful to her (Ildiko-ex of Attila and Dani-alpinist :)

Rome: St. Peter's Basilica Tour & Dome Climb Reviewed by

Tutto perfetto. Arrivati alle 15.00 circa e alle 15.10 io e mia moglie eravamo all'iterno della basilica. Solo una precisazione per gli altri viaggiatori. E' scritto che la visita dura un'ora ma in realtà si può stare in basilica quanto tempo si vuole. Consigliatissimo

Our tour guide was enthusiastic and extremely knowledgeable about the Basillica. She took what was already an impressive structure and was able to contextualize it in manner that made it breathtaking. While I cannot recall her name, she was incredible guide!

St. Peter's Basilica Guided Tour: Reserved Entrance Reviewed by

Perfect timing for the visit (the tour starts at 8am) when everything is still quiet and calm, as it gets much busier later in the day. This gives you unique chance to fully enjoy the beauty of the Basilica with its surrounding.

St. Peter's Basilica Guided Tour with Dome Climb Reviewed by