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Preplanned City Guides and Travel Itineraries

St. Peter's Basilica

On this page you find practical information, photos and videos about St. Peter's Basilica.

St. Peter's Basilica features in these preplanned City Guides:

1-day Rome City Guide3-day Rome City Guide5-day Rome City Guide

Why visit / Interesting facts:

  • Largest Christian church in the world
  • Sublime view of the city
  • Home to Michelangelo's Pieta

Time required: 70 minutes

Phone: +39 06 6982

Web site: http://saintpetersbasili...

Opening hours:

Time period Opening hours
April - September, Basilica: 7am - 7pm
October - March, Basilica: 7am - 6pm
April - September, Cupola: 8am - 6pm
October - March, Cupola: 8am - 4:45pm


Ticket type Charge
General: Free
Cupola - elevator: 7 €
Cupola - stairs: 6 €

Public transport:

  • Metro Line A: Ottaviano San Pietro station

Address: Piazza San Pietro, Vatican City

Things you need to know:

  • St. Peter's Basilica is a Late Renaissance church located within Vatican City
  • It can hold 60,000 people and has the largest interior among all Christian churches in the world
  • Its construction started in 1506 and finished in 1626
  • Not being the seat of a bishop, Saint Peter's not a cathedral, but a papal basilica. Rome's Cathedral is the Basilica of St. John Lateran
  • There has been a church on this site since the 4th century and tradition and some historical evidence suggest that Saint Peter is buried directly below the altar
  • The church features a number of not-to-be-missed treasures such as Michelangelo's Pietà, the dome, the Baldacchino, its imressive altar, and the crypt that is the burial place for popes
  • The basilica is 132-m (435-ft) high

What to do there:

  • Enter the basilica and immediately head to your right to take the elevator up to the dome (cupola)
  • The elevator takes you to the first level, to the church roof just above the facade. Go inside the gallery ringing the interior of the dome, where you can look down inside the church
  • From this level continue all the way up to the top of the dome
  • It's a 15-minute, 323-step climb. The view from the summit is sublime
  • Admire the arms of Bernini's colonnade encircling St. Peter's Square
  • After descending to the basilica walk around and do not miss the highlights: Michelangelo's Pieta, the 13th century bronze statue of St Peter, the huge bronze canopy (designed by Bernini)
  • Descend to the Crypt. Look at St. Peter's tomb and walk by the simple tomb of Pope John Paul II

Tips & Insights:

  • Most of the time the long queue is caused by the security check (airport style, before entering St Peters)
  • Taking photos is not permitted inside the basilica
  • Men and women in shorts, above-the-knee skirts, or bare shoulders will not be admitted to the Vatican City basilica. This dress code is strictly enforced

St. Peter's Basilica features in these preplanned City Guides: