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Dedicated Access: St. Peter's Basilica Self Guided Audio Tour

Skip The Line Audioguide in 11 Languages Mobile Tickets
  • Get priority, skip-the-line access with a dedicated entrance to St. Peter's Basilica, one of the most magnificent churches ever built that holds a pride of place at the Vatican.
  • With a downloadable audio guide that is available in 11 languages, explore the inner sanctum of this exquisite church and learn about its importance in the Catholic Church.
  • See impressive Renaissance masterpieces such as Michaelangelo's Pieta and Bernini's Chair of St. Peter, and also pay homage to the grand tomb of St. John Paul II on this self-guided audio tour.
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Please note that St. Peter's Basilica will remain closed on Wednesdays.

Interesting Facts About St. Peter’s Basilica

  • There are two levels below St Peter’s Basilica; the first level is the Vatican Grottoes - a large underground graveyard where the tombs of 91 Popes are buried. The level below the Vatican Grottoes is the Vatican Necropolis and houses St. Peter’s Tomb.
  • Only 3 women are entombed in the Vatican Grottoes; Queen Christina of Sweden, Agnesina Colonna Caetani and Queen Charlotte of Cyprus.
  • Michelangelo’s famous carving of the Pieta is housed in St Peter’s Basilica and is protected by bulletproof glass. Pieta was carved from a single slab of marble and happens to be the only work Michelangelo ever signed.
  • The holy door in St Peter’s Basilica is only opened for Jubilee Years, which happens once every 25 years. They are usually cemented shut to prevent them accidentally being opened.
  • In the courtyard outside St Peter’s Basilica , there are 140 statues of saints which stand upon the colonnades. These statues have been standing since 1670.
  • Swiss Guard, the world’s smallest army, was formed in 1506 and exists till date to protect the Pope, the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica.

What To See At St. Peter’s Basilica

The St. Peter’s Basilica was designed to amaze, every nook and turn will leave you in absolute awe. Here’s are the main highlights of the Basilica.

St. Peter’s Basilica Cupola

Climbing to the top of the St. Peter’s cupola is a fascinating experience. It was started by Michelangelo, continued by Giacomo Della Porta and completed by Carlo Maderno in 1614. Know that climbing to the top of the Cupola entails an extra admission charge. You can either take the stairs entirely to the top (551 steps) or take the elevator and then climb the remaining on steps (320 steps). There is a minor difference in the ticket for stairs only and lift + stairs. On your way to the top, you can stop at a terrace facing the interiors of the dome and enjoy the beautiful mosaics that deck the periphery. At the top you will be greeted by stunning 360-degree panoramic views of Vatican City and Rome.

The Central Nave

The Central Nave is where you will find the main body of the Basilica. The Nave is about 46 meters (150 ft.) high and 187 meters (615 ft.) long. Charlemagne and other emperors were crowned on the red disc located at the entrance of this Nave. You will also find the measurements of the largest churches in the world printed in brass letters on the floor.

St. Peter’s Treasury

St. Peter’s Treasury is another section of the basilica that has an extra admission charge. Its exhibition contains, crosses, papal vestments (clothing), jewels, reliquaries church ornaments, statues and various other objects that were royal gifts from the past. It costs 5 euros for adults and 3 euros for children 12 and under.

Vatican Grottoes

The Vatican Grottoes is an underground graveyard that contains the tombs of many Vatican popes as well as members of the royal family from the 10th century. Entrance to the Vatican Grottoes is free. It is open daily from 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM in the months of April to September and from 7:00 AM to 5:00 PM from October to March. Ensure this is the last place you visit in St. Peter’s Basilica since you will be outside the basilica upon exiting the grottoes and you cannot reenter the Basilica with the same ticket twice.

Bernini’s Baldachin

Situated directly under the dome in stands this 29-meter high bronze canopy. Gian Lorenzo Bernini started work on the Baldachin in 1623 and took 11 years to complete this masterpiece.. The Baldachin is said to stand over the papal altar which is directly above St Peter’s tomb. Only the Pope is allowed to serve at the altar.

Bronze Statue Of St. Peter

Created in 1300 by Arnolfo di Cambio, the statue of St Peter seated on a throne has been a part of the the Basilica since 1605. The tradition of pilgrims either touching or kissing the statue’s feet has caused the right foot to wear down.

Michelangelo’s La Pietà Sculpture

Competing with David as Michelangelo's best-known sculpture, this poignant portrayal of Mary holding the body of the dead Christ can be found on the right as soon as you enter the chapel . Michelangelo is said to have carved this master sculpture when he was just 24 years old.

St. Peter’s Square

Locally known the as Piazza San Pietro, St. Peter’s Square is right in front of St. Peter’s Basilica. There are two stunning fountains on either side of the square. There is also a 40-meter high Egyptian obelisk which was brought to Rome in 37 B.C. At the front of the square you will be able to see the large statues of St Peter and St Paul.