St. Peter's Basilica on a sunny day, Rome
St. Peter's Basilica on a sunny day, Rome

St. Peter's Basilica (Basilica di San Pietro)

Open daily 7am - 7pm (6pm in winter)
Piazza San Pietro, Vatican City, 120

The basics

The largest Catholic church in the world, St. Peter's is a must-see during any visit to the Vatican. There is no ticket required to enter, so it's easy to stop in on your own, but a guided St. Peter's Basilica tour or audio guide will help you understand the significance of its history and art. 

Many travelers either choose a tour that focuses exclusively on the Renaissance-style basilica, or one that also includes St. Peter's Basilica Dome, the Vatican Museums, and the Sistine Chapel. Either way, you can book a skip-the-line ticket or early-access tour to visit before most of the crowds arrive.

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Complete St Peters Basilica Tour with Dome Climb and Crypt
Complete St Peters Basilica Tour with Dome Climb and Crypt
star-4.5
$38.88 per adult
Traveler Favorite
Highly recommended
Went at 0730. Was the best te. So empty and quiet. The guide was very friendly and had loads of information. Very recommended.
Kristina_J, Jan 2024

Things to know before you go

  • Be prepared for security lines similar to those at airports, including metal detectors, bag scanners, and potentially long waits.

  • This is one of the most popular attractions in all of Italy, so crowds are nearly inevitable.

  • The Basilica of St. Peter has a strict dress code—no bare shoulders, midriffs, or knees—and you won't be allowed in unless you adhere to it.

  • A skip-the-line tour of the Vatican Museums that includes St. Peter's enables you to bypass the basilica's long entry lines; you still have to go through the security check.

  • Climbing the dome atop the Basilica to take in the fantastic views over St. Peter's Square, requires a ticket.

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How to get there

St. Peter's Basilica is across the Tiber River from top sights such as the Colosseum and Piazza Navona. The nearest metro stops are Ottaviano–San Pietro–Musei Vaticani and Cipro on line A; there are closer tram and bus stops. If you'd like to walk, cross the Ponte Sant'Angelo toward the Castel Sant'Angelo for a picturesque view.

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When to get there

The basilica is open year-round, but as a working church, it closes regularly for mass and special religious services. Crowds are biggest during the summer and holidays such as Easter and Christmas, as well as during public papal addresses, given most Wednesdays in the square.

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Underneath St. Peter's Basilica

The basilica's most famous tomb is that of St. Peter, but most visitors never go below the main level of the church. (This area also closes to visitors earlier, and has more restrictions than the rest of the basilica.) You can book a guided tour of the Vatican Necropolis (also known as the Scavi) to explore the ancient Roman cemetery that lies underground, past the Vatican Grottoes, and stand before St. Peter's tomb.

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St. Peter's Basilica on a sunny day, Rome
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Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
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As well as visiting the St. Peter's Basilica (Basilica di San Pietro), check out these trip ideas to make the most of your visit: