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?
    Open daily, 7:00 AM-6:00 PM
    Wednesdays (Papal audience), 12:00 PM-6:00 PM
    Holiday hours may vary
  • 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

Overall rating
4.4 / 5
based on 83,430 reviews

Marcius is an excellent guide and very knowledgeable. I enjoyed my tour. Be warned this does not include saint Peter's basillica or la pieta and the description is misleading. When complained about afterwards to the provider I was assured a partial refund. The reason for that part of the tour not being included is because the corridor from the museum to the basilica is currently closed due to covid and the tour description has still not been updated to reflect this. I went the following afternoon and had a great time, and its free.

Vatican Museums Tour - Priority Access Reviewed by

I only gave it 4 stars because it was so difficult to hear our tour guide. We had a group of 10 and N O audio headphones. We had a sweet older gentleman who has been doing tours for about 40+ years and very informative but super difficult to understand. We would have to gather around and basically play telephone to hear what was being said... other than that, the tour was great.

Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel Tour Reviewed by

Excellent guide (Yuri). 3 hours just about right. Not sure that leaving the best until last (The Sistine Chapel) is the best way to do the tour, by that time, with feet aching and needing a rest I just didn't absorb the magnitude of what I was seeing. Awesome artwork but by that time I just wanted a McDonald's!

Best of the Vatican 3-Hour Small Group Tour Reviewed by

Wonderful experience of visiting the Vatican Museums! Knowledgeable and friendly guide Matej did an excellent job of taking us through the centuries of history providing all relevant information and pointing to the most important and influential works of art exhibited in this marvelous place.

Best of the Vatican 3-Hour Small Group Tour Reviewed by

Perfect timing for the visit (the tour starts at 8am) when everything is still quiet and calm, as it gets much busier later in the day. This gives you unique chance to fully enjoy the beauty of the Basilica with its surrounding.

St. Peter's Basilica Guided Tour with Dome Climb Reviewed by