Learn About All the Different St. Peter's Basilica Entrances Before Your Visit
St. Peter’s Basilica is the jewel of Vatican City. Dominating the skyline of the area, the Basilica is spread over a massive 23,000 square meters of land. There is so much to see inside this 16th-century Renaissance Church, bringing in millions of people every year.
Entering St. Peter’s Basilica
St. Peter’s Basilica is one of the most popular Churches in the world. This means that it is crowded throughout the year.
A visit to the Basilica can leave you waiting in endless ticket lines to get in, taking the fun out of your visit. There is more than just one way to enter the Basilica and we’ve put together a rundown of all the entrances and how to get to them.Plan Your Visit to St. Peter's Basilica
St. Peter’s Basilica Entrances
While the main entrance to the Basilica is free, a few attractions inside require tickets. There are separate lines for each of these attractions in different areas of the Basilica.
The Cupola or Dome of St. Peter’s Basilica is its most striking feature. Visitors can climb up to the Dome and walk around the roof to get mesmerizing views of the city. To enter the Cupola, go towards the right side of the portico where you will find the ticket office and the elevator that leads to the roof.
Opening hours: 8 AM to 5 PMMichelangelo's Dome Tickets
Sacristy & Treasury Museum
Built by Carlo Marcchioni in 1776, the Sacristy is a separate building that was attached to the Basilica. Inside are important relics dating back to the 1st century including decorative columns, artworks, a red cope, an ancient Papal tiara, and other historic treasures. The entrance to the Sacristy and Treasury Museum is below the Monument to Pius VIII.
Opening hours: 8 AM to 5 PM
The Vatican Necropolis is an ancient burial site discovered through excavations under St. Peter’s Basilica. To visit the Necropolis, you can purchase a guided tour ticket and make your way through the Basilica towards the underground entrance. Inside you will find about 91 Papal tombs as well as the tomb of St. Peter himself. The tour of the Vatican Necropolis takes about 1.5 hours. Only 250 people are allowed to visit the Necropolis per day so make sure you book your tickets in advance.
April to September: 7 AM to 7 PM
October to March: 7 AM to 6:30 PMWhat's the Vatican Necropolis?
There is a secret entrance to St. Peter’s Basilica that not many people know about. It is located on the right side of the Sistine Chapel through a small door.
April to September: 7 AM to 7 PM
October to March: 7 AM to 6:30 PMExplore Sistine Chapel
- The handiest tip is to reach St. Peter’s Basilica early in the morning to avoid long queues.
- Thousands of people visit the Basilica every day so you will end up waiting for some amount of time, even if you choose a different entrance.
- Everyone has to go through a mandatory security check before entering the Basilica.
- Ensure that you follow the dress code or you will not be permitted to enter. Knees and shoulders must be covered.
- Wear comfortable walking shoes because you will end up spending a few hours walking around the Basilica.
Visit St. Peter's Basilica Today
Frequently Asked Questions About St. Peter’s Basilica Entrances
A. St. Peter’s Basilica is located in Vatican City near St. Peter’s Square.
A. The main entrance to St. Peter’s Basilica is through St. Peter’s Square.
A. There are 4 ways in which you can enter the St. Peter’s Basilica - the Dome, the Necropolis, the Sacristy, & through the Sistine Chapel.
A. All entrances have a minimum waiting time of about 45 minutes to 1 hour or more.
A. The main entrance is usually the most crowded. Opt for a guided tour for a faster entry into the Basilica. Alternatively, you can also enter through the Dome or Sacristy.
A. The entrance to St. Peter’s Basilica Dome is towards the right of the portico.
A. The entrance to the Vatican Necropolis is below St. Peter’s Basilica.
A. The entrance to the Sacristy & Treasury Museum is below the Monument to Pius VIII.
A. Not all the St. Peter’s Basilica entrances are free. Only the main entrance lets you enter for free but you will have to pay to enter the Dome, Necropolis, and Sacristy.