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

Great tour of the Vatican! Linda is a funny and informative guide

Very happy I booked this tour of the Vatican. Linda was absolutely lovely and gave just the right amount of information without overwhelming you with facts. I learned and laughed quite a bit. Definitely will recommend to friends visiting Rome.

Great commentary, great guide thoroughly enjoyed.

Our guide was very knowledgeable and very friendly. We had a great tour, very informative commentary throughout. Would definitely recommend

Tour guide was amazing! So many great stories!

She told us so many amazing facts and stories we wouldn’t have known. Great tour while allowing plenty of time for photos and enjoying al the art and amazing views.

The tour guide (Julio) was exceptional. Whole experience very positive

I would strongly encourage people visiting the Vatican to use a tour guide. Not only it is much easier to get in but it also gives you more insights on the history of the works of art!

It's a very nice guided tour to know the history of Vatican City

The guide was very good. She explained us everything in details of Vatican museum, St. Peter's Basilica and Sistine chapel. She was very helpful and good guide for us. I strongly recommend this trip to other tourists for cheap budgets.

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