St. Peter's Basilica

St. Peter's Basilica

Visit St.Peter's Basilica & Discover The Mysteries of The Church
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About St. Peter's Basilica

Pay a visit to St. Peter's Basilica in Rome, said to be the centre of Christendom and amongst the major pilgrimage sites of the Vatican City. Being one of the iconic landmarks and structures in the city, St. Peter’s Basilica is also the abode of stunning Renaissance and Baroque art, and is a haven for lovers of history.

While it used to be the tallest structure in the world when it was built, as of today, the St. Peter's Basilica dome is the tallest in the whole world. It is here that you can witness some of the most famous monuments and sculptures by legendary artists, including the Baldachin, a statue of St. Longinus, the tomb of Urban VIII as well as Michelangelo’s Pietà by Bernini, among others.

Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, St. Peter's Basilica Rome has also been associated with the Early Christian Church, the Protestant Reformation, the Papacy as well as the Catholic Counter-Reformation. Also known as the Church of the Popes, St. Peter's Basilica is also a major pilgrimage site since it is used for many religious rites and events throughout the year. It is also one of the only four churches in the world which holds the ranks of a major basilica.

Why Visit St Peter's Basilica?

Located in Vatican City, St. Peter's Basilica is the universal headquarters of the Catholic Church, in addition to being the residence of the Pope. In addition to dominating the skyline of the Vatican City, it is also often considered to be the representative structure of this tiny country.

Laden with architectural magnificence and historical significance, St. Peter’s Basilica is one place where you can enjoy an adventurous and memorable journey of art, faith and spirituality. From taking the tour of the cupola, to walking through its stunning corridors, visiting the chapels and admiring Michelangelo’s spectacular dome from the 1500s, you can do it all, and more, when you visit St. Peter's Basilica.

Plan Your Visit to St. Peter's Basilica

Plan a Visit
Essential Information

How To Reach:

  • By metro: Avail a ride in the Line A metro directions from the Battistini, Ottaviano or Cipro Stations and get off at the Ottaviano-S. Pietro Station, located just outside the Vatican. From there, the St. Peter's Basilica is located a short walk away.

  • By bus: You can also avail a bus ride to get to the basilica from different parts of Rome. You can take Bus 49 and get off in the square in front of the Vatican Museums and then walk to the church. Alternatively, you can also avail bus numbers 32, 81 or 982 and stop at Piazza del Risorgimento, or take buses 492 or 990 and stop at Via Leone IV/ Via degli Scipioni, both of which are located around 10 minutes away from St. Peter’s Basilica.

Best Time to Visit:

The best time to visit St. Peter’s Basilica is before 09:00 a.m. in the morning or after 04:00 p.m. in the evening, when there are lesser crowds here. Additionally, it is best to visit the church on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays, when the place has a relatively lesser rush and smaller entry queues.

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History of St. Peter's Basilica


St. Peter's Basilica was built in the early 1500s, and took over 100 years to finish. However, its site had already been chosen around 349 AD. At this time a small shrine was made to mark the location of the tomb of St. Peter on the orders of Emperor Constantine, the first Christian emperor of Rome. While Pope Nicholas V tried to begin the renovation work for this small basilica in the late 15th century, these plans were halted for an entire century, which is when Pope Julius II began to build an entirely new church here.

He also appointed architect Donato Bromante to build the church with a high dome. The church was constructed in the form of a three-ailed Latin church with a dome at its crossing, located right above the high altar, thereby covering the shrine of St. Peter the Apostle. The St. Peter's Basilica dome was also worked upon and redesigned by several architects and designers over the years. These included masterminds like Carlo Maderno, Giacomo della Porta as well as Michelangelo Buonarroti. They decorated its interiors with some of the greatest masterpieces of Baroque and Renaissance art. Upon its construction, St. Peter’s Basilica was considered to be the greatest building of its times.

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Architecture & Design of St. Peter’s Basilica

The Ceiling

The interiors of St. Peter’s Basilica includes the extended nave in the form of a Latin cross. The interior of the place has been home to many chapels, including Chapel of the Presentation of the Virgin, the Clementine Chapel, and numerous other altars. Additionally, you can also find the Chapel of the Confession beneath the high altar.

The interior of the church is home to some of the greatest Renaissance and Baroque sculptures and other works of art, including Pieta by Michelangelo, the baldachin or ceremonial canopy and the traditional chair of St. Peter by Bernini. You can also find several neoclassical marble statues and the papal tombs here.

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St. Peter’s Basilica is approachable via the St. Peter’s Square, which also has a façade of St. Peter, complete with giant Corinthian columns and statues of Jesus Christ, 11 of the Apostles and John the Baptist. The steps leading to the church are guarded by two 18-feet high statues of St. Peter and St. Paul.

The basilica of this church is one of the four major basilicas of Rome, including that of St. Santa Maria Maggiore, St. Paul and St. John Lateran, and has the tallest dome in the whole world. The dome was mostly designed by Michelangelo between 1585 to 1590 and rests on four majestic piers.

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Explore St. Peter's Basilica


One of the major highlights of St. Peter's Basilica Rome is its cupola, or the dome. Accessible by a flight of 551 stairs, you can head to the top of the cupola and enjoy some of the best views of the Roman cityscape from here. You can also visit the secret rooftop coffee shop here and indulge in an espresso or gelato.

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Michelangelo's Pieta

The statue of Pieta is one of the main highlights of the church, and is a religious sculpture which was carved by Michelangelo when he was only 24 years old. It was carved from a single slab of Carrara marble, and showcases the tragic moment when Virgin Mary took Jesus down from the cross.

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Saint Peters Basilica Baldacchino
The Papal Altar

The Basilica is centred around the Papal Altar, which was declared sacred in 1594, and is the place where only the Pope celebrates Mass. On top of the Papal Altar, you can see Bernini’s canopy, while the ancient tomb of St. Peter lies directly below the Papal Altar.

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Statue of St. Longinus

Made by Gian Lorenzo Bernini is the 4-metre-tall statue of St. Longinus, another highlight of the basilica. Longinus was a blind Roman soldier who speared Jesus in the side when he was being crucified. The statue depicts him with extended arms, almost as if receiving divine guidance.

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Bronze Statue of St. Peter
Bronze Statue of St. Peter

At St. Peter's Basilica Rome, you can also find a bronze statue of St. Peter, depicted in a way such that he seems to be giving blessings, while also holding the keys to heaven. Visitors coming to the basilica tend to touch and kiss the statue’s foot, almost as if seeking its blessings and praying to be let into heaven.

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The Confession
The Confession

The Confession is one of the most popular places in St. Peter’s Basilica. Located towards the right of the bronze canopy over the main altar, it is a blocked off and private section, where you must take permission before entering to make your confession.

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St. Peter’s Tomb

St. Peter’s Basilica is also home to St. Peter’s Tomb, which is a site that has many graves as well as a structure which memorialises the location of St. Peter’s grave. Located near the western end of a section of mausoleums and tombs, it is here where parts of the original church and the necropolis have been found.

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Vatican Grottoes

The Vatican Grottoes inside St. Peter's Basilica are home to chapels which have been dedicated to many saints as well as tombs of popes, kings and queens from the 10th century. Located between the Renaissance Basilica and the 4th century Basilica of Constantine, these grottoes also consist of Peter’s Tomb.

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St. Peter's Basilica FAQs

When was St. Peter's Basilica built?

St. Peter's Basilica was built between April 18th 1506 and 1615.

Where is St. Peter's Basilica located?

St. Peter’s Basilica is located within the Vatican City. The location of this Renaissance-style church is Piazza San Pietro, 00120 Città del Vaticano, Vatican City, Rome, Italy.

Who designed St. Peter's Basilica?

St. Peter’s Basilica was principally designed by renowned architects and designers Donato Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno and Gian Lorenzo Bernini.

What is St. Peter's Basilica famous for?

St. Peter's Basilica is famous for being one of the most notable works of Renaissance architecture, and is home to a number of stunning Baroque elements and works of art. It is also often considered to be the greatest building of its age, and has one of the tallest domes in the whole world.

What's inside St. Peter's Basilica?

St. Peter's Basilica is home to the tombs of 91 Popes, as well as many kings, queens and church dignitaries, along with several important figures from Roman history. It also contains some of the greatest Renaissance and Baroque art works, from paintings to sculptures by legendary artists.

What are St. Peter's Basilica opening hours?

St. Peter's Basilica remains open between 07:00 a.m. to 07:00 p.m. from April to September, and between 07:00 a.m. to 06:30 p.m. from October to March.

Where can I buy St Peter's Basilica Tickets?

St.Peter's Basilica Tickets are available both online and at the Basilica's entrance. We advise you to purchase your tickets online so that you can visit the church more quickly and affordably.

Is there a dress code in St. Peter's Basilica?

Yes, there is a strict dress code that visitors need to follow while visiting St. Peter’s Basilica. Any clothing above the knees, along with low cut tops/ shirts, sleeveless outfits, and hats are not allowed inside the Basilica.

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