Please note that St. Peter's Basilica will remain closed on Wednesdays.
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.
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 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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Q. Do I need tickets to enter St.Peter’s Basilica?
A. Entry to St. Peter's Basilica is free and you do not need a ticket to enter. You only need to purchase tickets for tours and skip the line access. You can choose between an expert guided tour or self guided audio tour of the St Peter's Basilica. Ticket and tour information can be found here
Q. How long do I have to wait in line to enter the St Peter's basilica?
A. Depending on the crowd, you could spend a long time waiting in line to enter. You can purchase a priority, skip-the-line tour ticket ( https://www.st-peters-basilica-tickets.com/) and fast track your entry.
Q. Where is St Peter's Basilica located?
A. St Peter’s Basilica is located inside the Vatican City.
Q. How do I get to St. Peter’s Basilica?
A. St. Peter’s Basilica is easily accessible by public transport. Take a metro to the Ottaviano Station located near the Vatican Walls. From there, it is a short 5 minute walk to St. Peter’s Square and the Vatican Museums. You can plan your route here
Q. What are the opening hours of St Peter's Basilica?
A. Between 1st April – 30th September, the opening hours are 7:00 AM – 7:00 PM
Between 1st October – 31st March, the opening hours are 7:00 AM – 6:30 PM
On Wednesdays, the Basilica opens for public from 12:30 PM onwards after the papal audience concludes.
Q. What is the best time to visit the St Peter’s Basilica?
A. Tuesdays and Thursdays are relatively less crowded days to visit. Saturday is the busiest and most crowded day. We recommend visiting early morning between 7-9 AM or late afternoon, after 1 PM to avoid the crowds.
Q. Can I visit St Peter's Basilica on Wednesday?
A. It is the day the Pope holds the papal audience, so it is closed for visitors until 12:30 PM. While you can visit the Basilica on Wednesday, it can get very crowded after it re-opens to the public.
Q. Can I visit St Peter's Basilica on Sunday?
A. The Vatican Museums are closed on Sunday, however, the Basilica remains open. Due to this, there are large crowds on Sunday. We recommend either going early morning or planning your visit for late afternoon or evening when the crowds reduce.
Q. Can I climb the St. Peter’s dome?
A. The dome has a total of 551 steps. You can purchase a ticket to do the climb, or opt for a guided tour that will include a St Peter's Basilica Dome Climb. This can be booked here
Q. Is there a dress code?
A. Yes. The dress code is strictly enforced at St Peter's Basilica. Clothing above the knees, low cut tops and bare shoulders are not allowed. Hats and large bags are also not allowed inside and must be cloaked.
Q. Is photography allowed at the St Peter’s Basilica?
A. Yes. You can take pictures for personal use in St. Peter’s basilica and the other parts of the Vatican Museums except the Sistine Chapel. It is strictly prohibited inside the Sistine chapel. Use of the flash is not permitted anywhere.