St. Peter's Basilica Floor Plan

A Quick Look at the Floor Plan of St. Peter’s Basilica

St. Peter’s Basilica is the largest papal church in the world, spanning over an astounding 23,000 square meters. Created by some of the most renowned architects from the 15th & 16th centuries, the basilica stretches across a length of 218 meters and a height of 136 meters, which also includes the dome. Like most basilica’s, this one also consists of traditional naves, aisles, and altars, but it has so much more to offer. 

There are several chapels, aisles, naves, statues, and other structures that form a part of St. Peter’s Basilica. Here’s a look at the floor plan of the church and what you can expect to see.

St. Peter's Basilica Map

St. Peter's Basilica Floor Plan

Overview of St. Peter’s Basilica Floor Plan

Let's take a walk through the many sections of St. Peter's Basilica, including prominent statues, chapels, entrances, & more.

St. Peter's Basilica Floor Plan

The Portico: Larger than most churches in the world, the portico of the basilica houses The Holy Door, Giotto’s Navicella, and John XXIII’s coat of arms. 

The Holy Door: The Holy Door or the Porta Sancta is opened every 25 years by the Pope. The last time it was opened was in the year 2000.

The Filarete Door: Dating back to 1445, the Filarete Door was actually a part of Old St. Peter’s Basilica. It depicts scenes of the martyrdom of Saint Peter and Saint Paul. 

The Door of Death: This door was used as an exit for funeral processions in the past and was designed by Giacomo Mazù.  

Elevator to the Dome: To the right of the Portico is an elevator which will take you to the base of the Dome. Alternatively, you can choose to walk up the ‘stairs for the brave.’ 

St. Peter's Basilica Floor Plan

Statue of Emperor Constantine: A masterpiece by Bernini, the statue of Emperor Constantine shows the leader before his battle, where he encounters a vision of the cross. 

The Pieta: Created by Michenangelo, this structure depicts a spiritual version of human suffering. It was installed before the year 1500 when the artist was a mere 24 years old. 

The Chapel of St. Sebastian: This section contains a mosaic altarpiece of the Saint, honoring his martyrdom. The remains of the Blessed Innocent XI lies here under the altar. 

The Blessed Sacrament Chapel: Open for prayer and mass only, this section is adorned with angels and a tabernacle designed by Bernini. 

St. Peter's Basilica Floor Plan

Altar of Saint Jerome: Beneath this altar lies the body of Pope John XXIII, which was brought here in the year 2001. 

Confessio: In this section, there is a bronze urn containing the Pallium, which is given to every new archbishop. St. Peter’s Tomb lies behind the Pallium.  

Papal Altar and the Baldicchino: Bernini’s first work in the basilica was Baldicchino. After the 9 years he spent working on it, it was proudly placed above the Papal Altar. 

The Right Transept: This area is now used for confession, however, early it was a meeting place for the First Vatican Council in 1869. 

The Throne of St. Peter: One of the main highlights of the basilica is the Throne of Peter, a wooden throne believed to have belonged to the Apostle himself.

The Baptistery Chapel: Designed by Carlo Fontana, the glorious Baptistery Chapel is still used today, resting on an ancient sarcophagus cover.

St. Peter's Basilica Floor Plan

The Monument of Alexander VII: This striking monument shows the skeleton of death rising from below, one of Bernini’s most distinguishable works. 

Left Transept and Altar of Saint Peter: This altar is the spot which is closest to where Peter the Apostle was crucified.

Statue of Saint Andrew: Paving the way to the Vatican Grottoes is this notable statue of St. Peter’s brother, Andrew. 

Sacristy and Treasury: Many valuable items donated to the Church are kept inside the Sacristy and Treasury Museum. Entrance to the museum can be found under the Monument of Pope Pius VIII.  

The Presentation Chapel: Under the altar of this chapel lies the body of Saint Pius X in a crystal coffin, clothed in pontifical robes.

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Frequently Asked Questions About St. Peter's Basilica Floor Plan

Q. Is St. Peter's Basilica the largest church in the world?

A. Yes. St. Peter's Basilica is currently the largest church in the world.

Q. How big is St. Peter's Basilica?

A. St. Peter's Basilica is spread over 23,000 square meters at a height of 136 meters and a length of 218 meters.

Q. What structures are part of St. Peter's Basilica?

A. St. Peter's Basilica consists of monuments, aisles, chapels, altars, artworks, monuments, and so much more.

Q. What is the Holy Door inside St. Peter's Basilica?

A. The Holy Door or the Porta Sancta is opened every 25 years by the Pope.

Q. What is the Door of Death inside St. Peter's Basilica?

A. The Door of Death was used as an exit for funeral processions in the past.

Q. Where is the elevator to the Dome of St. Peter's Basilica

A. To the right of the Portico is an elevator which will take you to the base of the Dome. Alternatively, you can choose to walk up the ‘stairs for the brave.’ 

Q. What chapels are inside St. Peter's Basilica?

A. St. Peter's Basilica consists of many chapels including The Chapel of St. Sebastian, The Blessed Sacrament Chapel, and The Baptistery Chapel.

Q. What altars are inside St. Peter's Basilica?

A. One of the main altars to keep an eye out for inside St. Peter's Basilica is the Papal Altar. Other altars include Altar of Saint Jerome, Altar of the Falsehood, Altar of St. Gregory the Great, and many more.

Q. Where is the Papal Altar in St. Peter's Basilica?

A. The Papal Altar or St. Peter's Altar is located at the center of St. Peter's Basilica above the Tomb of St. Peter and below the Dome.

Q. What monuments are inside St. Peter's Basilica?

A. St. Peter's Basilica consists of a multitude of monuments, some of which are the Pieta, the Monument to Innocent VIII, and the Monument to Pius VIII, to name a few.

A. Do not miss the Dome, the Throne of St. Peter, Bernini's Baldacchino, the Tomb of St. Peter, and the Vatican Necropolis. Make sure you spend time admiring all the statues, paintings, and other artistry inside and outside St. Peter's Basilica.