St. Peter's Basilica

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St. Peter's Basilica: Our most recommended tours and activities

Rome: St. Peter's Basilica Dome to Underground Grottoes Tour

1. Rome: St. Peter's Basilica Dome to Underground Grottoes Tour

Meet your guide in St. Peter’s Square then start the tour by climbing your way to the top of the Basilica’s Dome. Enjoy an exclusive look at the Dome’s impressive mosaics then head further up to the top balcony. From here, marvel at panoramic views across the city, spot the Colosseum, the Pantheon, and other iconic landmarks. Descend into the Basilica and admire its impressive interior and discover why it took 150 years to build. Gaze at the colorful marble, golden ceilings, and intricate mosaics that surround you. Learn about the renowned works of Renaissance and Neoclassic artists that are housed here.  Next, head underground to the Basilica’s historic grottoes and visit St. Peter’s Tomb. Touch the ancient walls of the original 4th-century Basilica and admire its beautiful frescoes. Finish the tour in St. Peter’s Square and soak up its majestic architecture. 

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Rome: St. Peter's Basilica Guided Tour

2. Rome: St. Peter's Basilica Guided Tour

Explore St. Peter's Basilica, one of Rome's most famed and magnificent sites. Known as the Queen of all the Basilicas, this Renaissance-style church and its dome dominate the skyline of Rome. Discover why the American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson described it as "an ornament of the earth...the sublime of the beautiful". Marvel at the interior, lavishly decorated with marble, reliefs, architectural sculpture, and gilding. At the heart of the basilica, beneath the high altar, discover the Chapel of the Confession, named after the confession of faith by St. Peter. Marvel at the curving marble staircases that lead to this underground chapel. Also, listen to the Vox City Guide, a self-guided audio tour with stories from local experts. It works online and is included in the experience. Learn about points of interest, hidden gems, public transport, and where to take the best photos and access Wi-Fi.

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Rome: St. Peter's Basilica, Square and Grottoes Guided Tour

3. Rome: St. Peter's Basilica, Square and Grottoes Guided Tour

Embark on a guided tour of Rome to discover the history and the secrets of St. Peter's Basilica, the largest Basilica in the world. Admire the stunning architecture, famous artworks, and visit the Papal Grottoes. After meeting your guide, explore the wonders that fill the Basilica. Follow your guide as you discover the past of St. Peter’s Basilica and marvel at its grand interior, covered in gold and breathtaking colors. See the artworks that were created by Michelangelo, Bernini, and Bramante, a focal point for religion and a representative of the beauty of the Renaissance and Baroque eras. After visiting the Basilica, head to the Papal Grottoes, where the previous pontiffs were buried. Get indications to visit the St. Peter’s Dome on request at the end of the tour.

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Saint Peter's Basilica Official Audioguide

4. Saint Peter's Basilica Official Audioguide

Explore one of Rome's most famous and magnificent sites! Discover why the American philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson described this site as "an ornament of the earth … the sublime of the beautiful". St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican is the primary temple of Christianity, and is built in the Renaissance style, with a central dome dominating the skyline of Rome. As you enter the church, you will see that its interior is much bigger than those of any other cathedral. Using an official audio-guide of the Basilica, you can start your visit at any point of the church, without having to follow the order dictated by the presence of a guide. You can decide, for example, to begin with the heart of the Basilica, beneath the high altar and the Bernini's Baldachin, where you will discover the “Confession” or “Chapel of the Confession”, in reference to the confession of faith by St. Peter, which led to his martyrdom and burial place. You may choose to end with "La Pietà", the masterpiece of Michelangelo Buonarroti, or with the St. Peter's bronze statue (so worshipped by all the pilgrims visiting over the centuries).

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St. Peter's Basilica: Tour with Dome Climb

5. St. Peter's Basilica: Tour with Dome Climb

Meet your art historian guide in St. Peter's Square and stroll across the piazza into Vatican City. In the Basilica, take the elevator part of the way up and then climb the remaining 171 steps. You can climb at a leisurely pace and enjoy the journey up with frequent stops. At the summit, witness the breathtaking 360-degree views of the Vatican City as it extends out into Rome and its seven hills. Take as many photographs as you can because you are very high and will be able to see for a long distance. After heading back down to ground level, take a brief break before entering St. Peter's Basilica. This famous monument is a triumph of art and architecture, unmatched anywhere else in the world. This is where Bernini's sculptures and Michelangelo's art rise above holy papal tombs and the necropolis of St. Peter himself. 

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Vatican: Papal Audience Ticket and St. Peter's Basilica Tour

6. Vatican: Papal Audience Ticket and St. Peter's Basilica Tour

See the Pope himself on a special early-access visit to the Papal Audience ceremony and guided tour of St. Peter's Basilica. Receive your ticket for the Papal Audience from the staff at Piazza del Sant'Uffizio, just in front of St Peter's Square. Then watch the Pope make his way to the stage and join the weekly gathering which includes prayers, blessings, and a homily. After the audience, enjoy a guided tour of the iconic Basilica of St. Peter. As you tour the Renaissance-style church, with its famous dome and unrivaled architecture, see masterpieces like Michelangelo's Pietà and Bernini's Baldacchino. Choose an audio-guided tour of the Vatican Gardens and enjoy insightful commentary on an open bus.

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Rome: Hop-on, Hop-off Sightseeing Bus Tour

7. Rome: Hop-on, Hop-off Sightseeing Bus Tour

The open-top, double-decker bus provides fantastic views and a great atmosphere to enjoy Rome's charm. From the iconic Colosseum and the famous Spanish Steps to the stunning Vatican, the city's history and majestic architecture will take your breath away. A fully narrated audio tour allows you to discover over 10 locations throughout the city with daily departures from the starting point at Termini Railway Station. You have the option to join the tour from any of the stops on the route. You may also experience the “eternal city” on foot with fantastic digital, self-guided walking tours. Some of the locations you can see on the tour route include: Colosseum Roman Forum Trevi Fountain Spanish Steps Piazza di Spagna Vatican St. Peter's Square Piazza Navona Pantheon Castel Sant'Angelo Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore Circus Maximus Piazza Venezia Altare della Patria Piazza Barberini Termini Railway Station

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St. Peter's Basilica: Tour with Dome Climb and Papal Tombs

8. St. Peter's Basilica: Tour with Dome Climb and Papal Tombs

Meet your guide in St. Peter’s Square, then head up to the first level of the dome to the viewing balcony. Admire the array of incredible mosaics, the magnificent Latin scripts, and the top of Bernini’s 3-story canopy below. Listen to your guide share facts and stories about the history of the dome, and learn all about the Dome’s artists and Renaissance splendor. From the first level, take the spiral staircase to the top of the dome and enjoy some free time to explore at your own pace. Then pass by windows that give a tantalizing glimpse of the Vatican rooftops below. After 320 steps find yourself on the viewing platform 448 feet above the basilica floor. From the highest point within the Vatican, admire breathtaking and panoramic views over the city, including the Vatican Gardens below. Looking into the distance, you can also marvel at the monuments of ancient Rome, including the Colosseum and the Pantheon. When you leave the dome there is no need to line up again to get inside the basilica, as the stairs will bring you directly down to the basilica floor. With your guide, navigate through the basilica, admiring the array of statues, chapels, and pilgrim sites located here, before descending to the Papal Tombs. Here, you can see where hundreds of popes and members of royalty have been buried since the 11th century.

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Vatican and Sistine Chapel Skip-the-Line Tour

9. Vatican and Sistine Chapel Skip-the-Line Tour

Save precious time and avoid the boring history tours of the Vatican City on a small group, skip-the-line tour with an English-speaking guide. Head straight to the most important areas of the Vatican Museums to marvel at the masterpieces of the papal collections. Discover statues from ancient Greece and look inside the Pinecone Courtyard and Belvedere Courtyard, along with the Hall of the Muses, Round Room, and Gallery of the Candelabra. Admire Flemish tapestries from some of Raphael's pupils in the Gallery of Tapestries, and historical maps by fine cartographers in the Gallery of the Maps. Contemplate Michelangelo's miraculous Sistine Chapel in silence. Then, skip the long lines to St. Peter's Basilica and enjoy a fully guided tour inside. Feel free to stay and explore other areas of the Vatican City on your own once you've said goodbye to your guide.

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Rome: Best of Rome All-Access Pass

10. Rome: Best of Rome All-Access Pass

Discover the Eternal City at your own pace with an all-access pass to the main monuments of Rome. Redeem your voucher at the office at your selected booking time and the staff will help you reserve all of your attractions. Visit St Peter’s Basilica at your own pace. Stroll through the striking aisles of the largest church in the world, admire Michelangelo's "Pieta", and the beautifully carved Bernini Pulpit. Take the stress out of your visit with accompanied entrance to each attraction. Encounter masterpieces of art in the corridors, courtyards, and galleries of the Vatican Museums. See Michelangelo's frescoes in the Sistine Chapel and pay your respects to former popes at the site of their tombs. Journey back to the days of the Roman Empire with a ticket to the Colosseum and Roman Forum. Follow in the footsteps of Roman citizens at the Via Sacra and discover where the city was founded on Palatine Hill. Use your 72 hours unlimited public transport card to explore the city. Enrich your base option with the Vatican Gardens by minibus and discover the architectural wonders of the Vatican Gardens with a multi-lingual audioguide.

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Planning Your Visit

  • 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.

Other Sightseeing Options in St. Peter's Basilica

Want to discover all there is to do in St. Peter's Basilica? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about St. Peter's Basilica

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 30,885 reviews

Antonella és la millor guia de Roma amb diferencia! Gaudeix de la historia i en fa gaudir als oients també! Nosaltres vam fer el tour amb anglès i és 100% recomanable per qualitat preu, quedeuvos amb les "tips" que us doni

The guide (Daniela) was excellent. Very knowledgeable and super friendly. She gave lots of interesting information and did so in an engaging way. The tour started right on time. Everything was well organized.

We got a lot of great insight and information within a compressed timeframe. It captured the attention of the entire family (teens and elementary aged children)

Marcius was an excellent guide who made our trip to the museum Extremely interesting!

The guide was great and very informative.. we enjoyed it very much!