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St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City is one of the world’s largest and most famous churches. It’s known for its history, beautiful architecture, and for being one of the world’s most sacred places for Catholics.

It’s named after the apostle Peter who is said to be buried under the church. It’s an incredibly interesting place where you can have a look at beautiful architecture and impressive artworks.

A big part of the church is open to the public, but there are also parts and rooms that tourists are not allowed to visit. Below you can read more about St. Peter’s Basilica and useful information before you visit.


Tickets to St. Peter’s Basilica

St. Peter’s Basilica is one of the major attractions in the Vatican City. It doesn’t cost anything to visit, and you don’t have to book any tickets in advance if you don’t like to.

However, I do recommend buying skip-the-line tickets if you’re planning to visit in the middle of the day. If you buy tickets in advance you do not have to stand in long queues to visit the church, which sometimes can take several hours during high season.

If you’re not going to visit St. Peter’s Basilica during the morning when it opens, I can recommend you to buy tickets in advance.

Buy skip-the-line tickets here

tourists

Photo: Cividin / Shutterstock.com

Things to see inside St. Peter’s Basilica

  • The viewpoint – Up in the dome you can enjoy a view of the Vatican City and big parts of Rome.
  • Grotto Vaticane – These Vatican caves are located about 3 meters below the church. Here you can see artworks and tombs where popes, royalty and emperors rest.
  • Baldacchino – A beautiful sculpture by Giovanni Lorenzo Bernini.
  • La Pieta – A marble sculpture by Michelangelo. This sculpture can be found in the first chapel on the right.
  • Necropolis – Where the apostle Peter is buried.
view from the church

The view from St. Peter’s Basilica / Photo: Shutterstock

Inside St. Peter’s Basilica

St. Peter’s Basilica is one of the most beautiful churches in the world. The inside is decorated in beautiful mosaics and famous artworks – there are many beautiful details inside the St. Peter’s Basilica. There are 44 altars, 395 sculptures, 778 pillars and 135 mosaics in this religious building, which is very impressive.

It’s very cool to see it in different light where you can see the sun rays shining down through the windows in the dome.

If you’re interested in history, art and architecture then you’re going to love strolling around the St. Peter’s Basilica – it’s absolutely beautiful!

dome of St. Peter's Basilica

Photo: Viacheslav Lopatin / Shutterstock.com

St. Peter's Basilica

Photo: manjik / Shutterstock.com

inside the cathedral

Photo: ihsan Gercelman / Shutterstock.com

More about St. Peter’s Basilica

It’s said that the first pieces of the cathedral was laid in 1506 and replaced a church from the year of 326. The building took 120 years to be built and was finished year 1626.

St. Peter’s Basilica was the largest church in the world until 1989 when the church of Notre-Dame de la Paix in Yamoussoukro was completed.

Facts about St. Peter’s Basilica

  • Height: 132.5 meter
  • Area: 15 160 m²
  • Opened: year 1626
  • Location: St. Peter’s Square, Vatican City
  • Total visitors: 5 million visitors every year. About 20,000 people visit the cathedral every day during the summer.

Interesting facts about the church

  • It’s not the largest church in the world. St. Peter’s Basilica is the second biggest church after the “Notre-Dame de la Paixe” in Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast.
  • The Statue of Liberty could fit under the dome inside the church. The Statue of Liberty is 93 meters and the dome is 137 meters.
  • Over 100 popes are buried under St. Peter’s Basilica.
  • St. Peter’s Basilica is the tallest building in the historic part of Rome.
St. Peter's Basilica

Photo: Shutterstock

Good to know before visiting

They have a security check that you must go through before you’re allowed to enter the church. So make sure you don’t have any sharp objects in your bag that they could take away from you.

Dress respectfully and do not show shoulders or knees and take off your cap or hat as you enter the church. The guards can deny you a visit if you’re not dressed properly.

Also, speak quietly when talking. It echoes inside the church, so please show respect.

You are allowed to take pictures, but not with a flash as it can damage the artwork inside the church.

Opening hours & entrance fee

  • From April to September it’s open from 07:00 to 19:00
  • From October to March it’s open between 07:00 and 18:00

It’s free to visit St. Peter’s Basilica. If you get there early in the morning when they open, the queues are usually not that long. We got there 10 minutes before opening and we were among the first to enter the church.

If you visit later during the day, it may be a good idea to buy a “skip-the-line” ticket. During the summer, there are many people who visit and sometimes you have to wait several hours to get inside.

Click here to buy a skip-the-line ticket

How to get there

From Termini Station in Rome, hop on the Metro A line (orange color) towards Battistini. You get off at Ottaviano or Cipro station.

It takes about 10 minutes to walk from the subway to the church. The easiest is to use Google Maps in your phone to find it easily from the metro station.

You can also get there by taxi, which is a slightly more expensive but quicker option.

Hotel nearby St. Peter’s Basilica

hotel

The luxury hotel Raphaël-Relais & Châteaux with a view of St. Peter’s Basilica


Do you have more questions about St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City? Leave a comment below!