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.
Let's take a walk through the many sections of St. Peter's Basilica, including prominent statues, chapels, entrances, & more.
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.’
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.
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.
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.
A. The St. Peter's Basilica floor plan shows the Church spread over 23,000 square meters of land.
A. The St. Peter's Basilica floor plan consists of monuments, aisles, chapels, altars, artworks, monuments, and so much more.
A. Find the main Portico on the St. Peter's Basilica floor plan. There is an elevator on its right which will take you to the base of the Dome. Alternatively, you can choose to walk up the ‘stairs for the brave.’
A. The St. Peter's Basilica floor plan includes many chapels including The Chapel of St. Sebastian, The Blessed Sacrament Chapel, and The Baptistery Chapel.
A. One of the main altars to keep an eye out for is the Papal Altar. Other altars included in the St. Peter's Basilica floor plan are the Altar of Saint Jerome, Altar of the Falsehood, Altar of St. Gregory the Great, and many more.