Plan Your Visit St. Peter's Basilica

The Complete Guide to Help You Plan Your Visit to St. Peter's Basilica

Visiting St. Peter's Basilica

St. Peter's Basilica is a must-visit attraction for its storied history and grandeur. It is located in the heart of Vatican City and has been recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since the year 1984. There are many reasons to visit this architectural marvel, some of which are that it is the final resting place of Peter the Apostle, it is the holiest church in the world, and it holds many important relics from Christian history. Visiting St. Peter's Basilica would be a once-in-a-lifetime experience that you absolutely must not miss. 

Planning a trip to this popular attraction can be a bit of a hassle and so we’ve put together all the information you need for a smooth visit to St. Peter’s Basilica.

COVID-19 Safety Measures

  • All visitors must obtain a Green Pass to enter St. Peter’s Basilica.
  • Mandatory temperature checks will be conducted for all visitors. 
  • All frequently touched areas will be regularly cleaned.
  • All visitors must maintain social distance inside the premises.
  • St. Peter’s Basilica will operate with limited capacity.
  • Group visits are not permitted, only individual celebrations can take place.

How to Visit St. Peter's Basilica

St. Peter’s Basilica is a national treasure - not just in Vatican City but in the whole of Rome. It is one of the most iconic churches in the world and is home to some of the most beautiful art and architecture that you'll ever see. Plus, it is a fascinating piece of history with so much to see and learn inside.

Plan Your Visit St. Peter's Basilica

St. Peter’s Basilica

St. Peter’s Basilica is one of the most remarkable churches in the world. There’s so much to admire as you walk through its aisles and chapels. Inside you will find some of the greatest artworks of all time including the Pieta, Bernini’s Baldacchino, St. Peter’s Chair, and so much more.

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St. Peter’s Basilica Dome

The Dome of St. Peter's Basilica is the largest piece of stonework ever erected without mechanical means. Designed by Michelangelo, the dome is the most striking feature of the Basilica. The best part is that you get to climb to the top of the dome, where you can catch amazing views of the city.

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Vatican Necropolis

Vatican Necropolis is an ancient burial ground located under St. Peter's Basilica in Vatican City. It contains the tombs of many of the Popes, as well as other important figures from Vatican history. It also holds the remains of the ancient burial ground and some artwork, making it a fascinating sight to behold.

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St. Peter’s Basilica Opening Hours

St. Peter’s Basilica opening hours are as follows:

1 April to 30 September : 07:00 AM to 07:00 PM

1 October to 31 March : 07:00 AM to 06:30 PM

It is open throughout the year.

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Best Time to Visit St. Peter's Basilica

The high season at St. Peter’s Basilica is between April and September, while the low season is between November and March. Plan your visit to St. Peter’s Basilica during the low season to avoid huge crowds.

Another tip is to visit early in the morning or late in the evening. There will be lesser crowds and you will be able to enjoy the beauty of the church without having to worry about being pushed around.

Where is St. Peter’s Basilica?

Plan Your Visit St. Peter's Basilica

Address: Piazza San Pietro, 00120 Città del Vaticano, Vatican City

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St. Peter’s Basilica is a massive church located in Vatican City with a dome that dominates the skyline of Rome. 

Closest Landmark: St. Peter’s Square

Directions to St. Peter's Basilica

How to Get to St. Peter's Basilica

St. Peter’s Basilica is located to the west of the River Tiber in Vatican City. It lies adjacent to the Vatican Museums.

Plan Your Visit St. Peter's Basilica

By Metro

Duration: 10 - 15 minutes

  • Take Line A or the red line of the metro going towards Battistini.
  • Alight at Ottaviano-S.Pietro or Cipro-Musei Vaticani station, both of which are close to the entrance.
  • Walk south till you reach St. Peter’s Square. You will find the entrance to the Basilica here.
Plan Your Visit St. Peter's Basilica

By Bus

Duration: 30 - 35 minutes

  • Take bus routes 40 or 64 from Roma Termini.
  • Step off at Piazza Pia bus stop and walk towards Vatican City.
  • Alternatively, bus routes 32, 81, 982 stop at the Piazza del Risorgimento, which is about 10 minutes away by walk.
Plan Your Visit St. Peter's Basilica

By Train

Duration: 20 - 30 minutes

  • St. Pietro is a train station in Vatican City. 
  • Get off at St. Pietro station and walk towards St. Peter’s Square.
  • St. Peter’s Square is just a 10-minute walk from here.
Plan Your Visit St. Peter's Basilica

By Tram

Duration: 40 - 50 minutes

  • There is just one tram stop in Vatican City.
  • Take Tram 19 and alight at  Piazza del Risorgimento coming from Piazza dei Gerani. 
  • The entrance to the Basilica is about 10 - 13 minutes from here.

Do I Need a Passport to Enter St. Peter's Basilica?

St. Peter’s Basilica is a part of Vatican City. Although the Vatican is a sovereign state, you do not need a separate passport to enter or visit its attractions. As long as you have a passport to enter Italy, you can enter Vatican City. You can directly walk into St. Peter’s Basilica.

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Facilities
Accessibility
Visiting with Family
Rules & Regulations
Plan Your Visit St. Peter's Basilica

Audio guides: Audio guides are available at the entrance.

Cloakrooms: Leave behind items that are not allowed inside.

Restrooms: There are three public restrooms at the Basilica.

Snack Bar: You will find a snack bar on the roof of the Church.

Gift shops: Many gift shops are present throughout the Basilica. 

Post office: Collect stamps or send postcards from any of the three post offices at St. Peter’s Square.

Plan Your Visit St. Peter's Basilica
  • St. Peter’s Basilica is accessible by wheelchair.
  • Wheelchairs can be rented across Rome from St. Peter’s Basilica Wheelchair, M.i.a. Medical, and Vemrent.
  • The ramp entrance is towards the right side of the colonnades. Accessible restrooms are also located in this area. 
  • Elevators are present at various points throughout the premises.
Plan Your Visit St. Peter's Basilica

Strollers: Strollers are not allowed inside the Basilica. They can be left in the cloakroom.

Baby-changing facilities: Some restrooms are equipped with baby-changing facilities.

Relaxation areas: You will find seats inside the chapels and other areas inside.

Family tours: We recommend choosing a guided tour or private tour if you’re traveling with kids.

Food: You will find a range of snacks suitable for kids at the snack bar on the roof.

Plan Your Visit St. Peter's Basilica

Dress code: You will not be permitted to enter the Basilica if your knees and shoulders are not covered.

Photography: Only the use of phones and handheld devices are allowed inside.

Artworks: Do not touch any of the artworks inside the Basilica. 

Cell phones: Keep your cell phone's on silent mode inside, especially during mass.

Smoking: Smoking is strictly forbidden inside the premises.

How to Enter St. Peter's Basilica

There are a few different ways in which you can enter St. Peter’s Basilica. Here they are!

Cupola: The entrance to the Cupola or Dome is located towards the right side of the portico. Once you book your ticket at the ticket office, you can head up to the Dome for the most stunning views of the city. The average queue time here is about one hour.

Opening hours: 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM

Necropolis & Treasury: Unlike the rest of the Basilica, you have to pay to enter the treasury section. Here you will find important relics from Roman history including ancient tombs, columns, and sculptures at the Necropolis. Entrance to this section is on the left side of the Basilica and you need to buy tickets in advance to enter.

Opening hours: 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.

Grottoes: The Vatican Grottoes are a set of Papal tombs located below St. Peter’s Basilica. You will find St. Peter’s Tomb here, which allegedly contains the remains of the Apostle. Book your tickets to the Grottoes online or from the Scavi office. This area is accessible only through guided tours.

Opening hours: 

1 April to 30 September : 07:00 AM to 07:00 PM

1 October to 31 March : 07:00 AM to 06:30 PM

Hidden Entrance: There is a hidden entrance to St. Peter’s Basilica that not many know about. It is located through a small door on the right side of the Sistine Chapel. 

What’s Inside St. Peter's Basilica?

Plan Your Visit St. Peter's Basilica

Dome

Atop the iconic dome, you will get the most spectacular views of the city. Once you get to the roof, you can also access the gift shop, snack bar, and restrooms.

More about the Dome
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Necropolis

Step into ancient Rome as you walk through the 1st-century remains of a burial ground. This area is tucked away below the Basilica and contains a number of tombs of important Christian figures.

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Grottoes

The Vatican Grottoes are a set of Papal tombs inside the Basilica. About 91 Popes are buried within the Grottoes, including St. Peter himself. You will also find archeological rooms and chapels holding important relics.

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St. Peter’s Tomb

Below the Basilica lies the treasured tomb of St. Peter - his final resting place. The tomb is quite a grand one and probably the most important part of the Basilica.

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Papal Tombs

More than 100 Popes are buried within St. Peter’s Basilica. About 91 of them are buried in the Vatican Grottoes. This area houses a number of ancient as well as modern tombs.

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Baldacchino

Bernini’s masterpiece, the Baldacchino, is a breathtaking creation inside the Papal Altar. It is a grand sculpture located right above the Tomb of St. Peter atop the High Altar.

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Chair of St. Peter

The Throne of St. Peter is one of the most important relics inside the Basilica. It is believed that this was the actual chair used by St. Peter for his sermons.

More about St. Peter's Chair
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Papal Altar

Located at the center of the Basilica, the Papal Altar is where only the Pope is allowed to celebrate mass. St. Peter’s Chair and Baldacchino are located inside the Papal Altar.

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The Pieta

Among many other sculptures inside the Basilica, the Pieta by Michelangelo stands out. Get a close look at this masterpiece located towards the right aisle.

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Visitor Tips

  • St. Peter’s Basilica is a popular attraction in Vatican City. Expect crowds throughout the year.
  • Early mornings and evenings generally have lesser crowds in comparison to the rest of the day.
  • All visitors must abide by the dress code of the Church. Knees and shoulders must be covered.
  • Wear comfortable shoes because you’ll have a lot of walking around to do.
  • Mandatory security checks take place for all visitors. These lines can get long and cumbersome. 
  • Don’t forget to visit the Dome and the Vatican Necropolis, both of which are accessible through the Basilica.
How to Book St. Peter's Basilica tours?

Small-Group St. Peter's Basilica Guided Tour

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St. Peter’s Basilica Dome: Guided Tour

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Semi Private Guided Tour - Vatican Museums & Sistine Chapel

Duration: 2.5 Hours
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Vatican City Tour with St. Peter's Basilica Dome Climb

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Frequently Asked Questions About Planning Your Visit to St. Peter's Basilica

Q. What are the St. Peter's Basilica opening hours?

A. Between 1 April to 30 September, St. Peter’s Basilica is open from 07:00 AM to 07:00 PM, and between 1 October to 31 March, it is open from 07:00 AM to 06:30 PM.

Q. How do I get to St. Peter's Basilica?

A. You can get to St. Peter’s Basilica by metro (A), train, bus (40, 64), or tram (19).

Q. What is the best way to get to St. Peter's Basilica?

A. The most efficient way to travel to St. Peter's Basilica is by metro (Line A) or bus (40 or 64).

Q. What is St. Peter's Basilica address?

A. Piazza San Pietro, 00120 Città del Vaticano, Vatican City.

Q. What are the COVID-19 safety measures at St. Peter’s Basilica?

A. Carry your Green Pass with you or a negative PCR test. Temperature checks are mandatory and guests must maintain social distance inside the premises.

Q. What is the best time to visit St. Peter’s Basilica?

A. The best time to visit St. Peter's Basilica is early in the morning or late in the evening. This is because there will be less crowds and you will be able to enjoy the beauty of the church without having to worry about being pushed around.

Q. Do I need a passport to enter St. Peter’s Basilica?

A. No. You don’t need a passport to enter St. Peter’s Basilica.

Q. Can I visit St. Peter's Basilica without a guided tour?

A. Yes. You can visit St. Peter’s Basilica without opting for a guided tour.

Q. Can I enter St. Peter's Basilica for free?

A. Yes. Entry into St. Peter’s Basilica is free for all, however, a guided tour lets you have a more wholesome experience as you learn about the Church from a local expert.

Q. Is there parking near St. Peter's Basilica?

A. Paid parking lots can be found close to St. Peter’s Basilica. A few nearby ones are Gran Meliá - Gianicolo, Parking Risorgimento, Garage San Pietro, and Garage Properzio.

Q. When is mass at St. Peter’s Basilica?

A. Mass takes place every day at St. Peter’s Basilica. Find out about detailed mass timings here.

Q. How do I visit the Vatican Necropolis?

A. You can visit the Vatican Necropolis through St. Peter’s Basilica. You will find a spiral staircase that leads to the underground burial site.

Q. Do I need a ticket for St. Peter’s Basilica Dome?

A. Yes. To visit St. Peter’s Basilica Dome, you need to purchase a ticket. The ticket office is situated on the portico of the church, towards the right.

Q. Is visiting St. Peter’s Basilica worth it?

A. Yes. St. Peter’s Basilica is a must-visit attraction in Vatican City, with so much to see.

Q. What can I see inside St. Peter’s Basilica?

A. Inside St. Peter’s Basilica, you will find a multitude of monuments, sculptures, statues, artworks, tombs, and more. Some of its major highlights include the Dome, St. Peter’s Baldacchino, and the Vatican Necropolis.

Q. Can I skip the line at St. Peter’s Basilica?

A. There are some ways in which you can skip the long lines at St. Peter’s Basilica including getting there early, booking your tickets online, and avoiding public holidays.

Q. What else can I see besides St. Peter’s Basilica?

A. Around St. Peter’s Basilica are other interesting attractions like the Sistine Chapel, Vatican Museums, St. Peter’s Square, and the Vatican Gardens.