St. Peter's Basilica
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St. Peter's Basilica: Tours & Tickets

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The Majestic Architecture of St. Peter's Basilica

The world-famous St. Peter's Basilica took 120 years to complete and involved some of the most talented architects of its time. It's arguably the greatest achievement of late-Renaissance architecture – here are five highlights amongst its countless marvels.

St. Peter's Square

St. Peter's Square

The magnificent entrance to the Basilica consists of a gigantic square, featuring a 25-meter obelisk at the center, encircled by colossal Tuscan colonnades four columns deep.

The Facade

The Facade

The Basilica's facade, designed by Baroque architect Maderno, is 114 meters wide and 45 meters tall. Built entirely from travertine stone, it's quite simply breathtaking.

The Nave

The Nave

The opulent interiors, including Maderno's lavishly-decorated nave, are so immense that it can be hard to judge the building's proportions.

The Dome

The Dome

At 136 meters, Michelangelo's famous dome is the tallest dome in the world. It stands proud in Rome's skyline and offers a staggering panorama of the city.

Vatican Grottoes

Vatican Grottoes

Below the Basilica, there's a large network of tunnels housing the Vatican Grottoes. Many popes are buried here, including John Paul II and the first ever pope, St. Peter himself.

Our insider tips

Mind the Dress Code

As a Catholic building, appropriate clothing is required to enter St. Peter's Basilica. Regardless of the high temperatures in Rome during the summer, shorts, bare shoulders and miniskirts are not allowed – the dress code is strictly enforced.

Arrive Early to Avoid the Lines

The queues to enter St. Peter's Basilica can get extremely long. It's therefore a good idea to arrive early, especially at the height of summer when temperatures can be sweltering. From April to September, the basilica's opening hours are from 7:00 AM until 7:00 PM, while from October to March, the basilica is open from 7:00 AM until 6:00 PM. Note that most mornings, the queues are already snaking around the square by 11:00 AM.

See the Pope

Every Wednesday, the Pope holds a public audience on St. Peter’s Square, and in the Audience Hall during winter. The audience starts at 10:30 AM, but most visitors arrive earlier to score a good seat. Security opens between 8:00 AM and 8:30 AM.

Good to know

  • When should I visit?
    7:00 AM - 6:30 PM daily.
  • Is it expensive?
    Ticket prices vary depending on group size.
  • Will I need a guide?
    Recommended!
  • How to get there
    Buses 64, 60, and 40 will get you to the Vatican City. Alternatively, take the red metro line to Cipro station.
  • Additional information

    • Bring a covering for your shoulders, and do not wear shorts or short skirts.

    • Use sunscreen and bring water for when you are waiting in line outside.

What people are saying about St. Peter's Basilica

Our guide was extremely knowledgeable answered all our questions was a

Was sad to end our tour Rebeca was more then we could have imagined. Her knowledge of all things Rome was very impressive. Would do it again when we return to Rome 110% Happy

A great value trip, covers the Vatican very well for about 3 hours.

The guide, Vasco, was really good. Took us through the entire trip with a combination of information and humor, and ensured the entire group kept pace with him. We went through the museums, the Sistine Chapel and the St Peter's Basilica and managed to see a lot of the important artifacts, paintings and statues and hear the history behind them. A guided tour is certainly recommended for the first timers to the Vatican.

Excellent tour with a exceptional guide.

We booked this tour based on our son's recommendation. The tour was wonderful. Our guide, Faviania was knowledgable, delightful, and very caring.

Paying money to enter a free building? But the Q!

You may think like me that paying money to enter a free building is bizarre. It was , until I arrived outside the basilica and saw the queue that stretched for miles and hours outside. Using this ticket enables us, only in Rome for a few days to see as many sights as possible in a short time. We were in with 20 minutes and what an amazing site it was!

Linda in Vatican & Massimo in Colosseum & city tour were brilliant!

Had a combined same day tour : with a beautiful, witty & fun Sicilian tour guide lady Linda (Cristina) at 8.30am in Vatican - the only one to visit Rafael Rooms as well & not crowded as usual; and with Massimo of Coliseum, Rome Forum, Paladine Hill, Trevi Fountain, Pantheon & Piazza Navona - both excellent , informative but also easy tours & guides! Highly recommended & cheaper & any other option. Quite intense to fit in one day but very doable, enough time in between for a lunch & getting to the other meeting point. Kids 8y.o. & 12y.o. survived & enjoyed!

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