Towering over the skyline of the Vatican City, the Basilica of Saint Peter is one of the largest and most renowned churches in the world

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Skip the Line: Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St Peter's Basilica Half-Day Walking Tour

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See the highlights of Vatican City with an expert guide, visiting the Vatican Museums, Sistine ...

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No Wait Access: St Peter's Basilica Guided Tour

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See the best of St Peter's Basilica in Vatican City on a comprehensive 1.15-hour walking tour. ...

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No Wait Access: St Peter's Basilica with Audio Guide

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See the best of St Peter's Basilica in Vatican City entering with a priority-access, the self-g...

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Private Early Bird Vatican and St Peter's Basilica Tour with Hotel pick-up

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Explore the Vatican Museums and see the Sistine Chapel one hour before the general public with this...

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Skip the Line: St Peter's Basilica Walking Tour Including Vatican Mosaic Studio

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 2 hours 30 minutes

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Walk through the heart of Vatican City and the 16th-century Mosaic Studio (Studio del Mosaico). Yo...

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Guided Skip-the-Line Group Tour of the Vatican Museum, Saint Peter's Basilica, and Sistine Chapel

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See the magnificent highlights of Vatican City during this 2.5-hour skip-the-line tour of the V...

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Skip the line: Small Group Tour of Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St Peter's Basilica

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 3 hours

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Experience Rome's top attractions on this 3-hour tour to the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel a...

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Skip the Line: Vatican Museum, St. Peter's Basilica and Sistine Chapel Tour

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Tour of the Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica - including skip-the-line ...

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Skip the Line Vatican Museums Sistine Chapel St Peter's Basilica elite tour

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 3 hours

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See the famous sites in Vatican City on a small group, personalized 3-hour tour. Your expert gu...

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Small-Group Tour: Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, and St. Peter's Basilica with Skip-the-Line Access

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Skip the Line: Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel and St Peter's Basilica Tour

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Immerse yourself in some of the most famous art in the world during this 3-hour tour through th...

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Skip the Lines: St. Peter's Basilica & Treasury Museum

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Vatican Museums - Sistine Chapel and St Peter's Basilica Private Tour with Skip-the-Line

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Enjoy a private tour of the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, and Saint Peter's Basilica wit...

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Skip the Line: Pope Francis the Papal Audience Vatican Museums and St Peters Tour with Lunch

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This comprehensive nine-hour tour includes a Papal blessing in St. Peter's Square, an explorati...

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Christmas Eve Dinner and Mass at St. Peter's Basilica

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 3.5 hour

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See Rome's stunning landmarks lit up by night on a 3.5-hour tour that includes a Christmas Eve dinne...

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Skip the Line: Vatican Museum and St. Peter's Basilica Small-Group Tour

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Half day tour to the Vatican Museums one of the world’s largest museum complexes, containing so...

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Vatican Museum, Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica

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 3 hour

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Tour one of the holiest sites in Christendom, with exclusive skip-the-line access. Walk through the ...

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Vatican Sistine Chapel St Peter Small Group Guided tour

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Skip the line at the Vatican Museums, and discover a wealth of art with an art-historian guide. Che...

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St. Peter's Basilica, Rome

Towering over the skyline of the Vatican City, the Basilica of Saint Peter is one of the largest and most renowned churches in the world.

Towering over the skyline of the Vatican City, the Basilica of Saint Peter is one of the largest and most renowned churches in the world. Built in the 16th-17th century on the site where Saint Peter died and was buried in 64 AD, the church is a breathtaking Renaissance masterpiece that is regarded as one of the greatest constructions of its era. As one of the most-visited attractions in Rome, it can have impossibly long queues for admission. Book your Skip the Line tickets today for an expedited and hassle-free entry.

It was primarily designed by Donato Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno, and Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The travertine facade on St Peter's Square is 115 metres wide and 45 metres high, featuring a central order of Corinthian columns surmounted by an architrave inscribed with the words 'IN HONOREM PRINCIPIS APOST PAVLVS V BVRGHESIVS ROMANVS PONT MAX AN MDCXII PONT VII' (In honor of the Prince of Apostles, Paul V Borghese, a Roman Supreme Pontiff, in the year 1612, the seventh of his pontificate). The balustraded roof has 13 statues of Christ with John the Baptist and 11 Apostles except Saint Peter. The pilastered sections at the ends are surmounted by clocks held by angels. Behind the façade, the central dome soars to a height of 136.6 metres as the tallest dome in the world. The facade is preceded by statues of St. Peter and St. Paul at the ends.

The narthex behind the façade has a long barrel vault decorated with ornate stucco and gilt work that serves as a teaser for the awe-inspiring artwork inside. At the ends of the narthex are equestrian figures of Charlemagne (south) and Constantine the Great (north). 5 portals lead into the basilica, with the central Portal of Filaret having a bronze door by Antonio Averulino that belonged to the old basilica. It is flanked by Giacomo Manzù's Gate of Death (far left) named so as it is used for the funeral processions of the Popes, Luciano Minguzzi's Gate of Good and Evil, Venanzo Crocetti's Portal of the Sacraments, and Vico Consorti's Holy Door.

The gargantuan interiors are truly stupendous, with a whopping 45 altars and 11 chapels. There are 3 naves demarcated by pillars, covered by a coffered barrel-vaulted ceiling. The central nave is 90 metres long, 26 metres wide, and 45 meters high. The 3 main highlights of the Basilica are –

  • The enormous dome by Michelangelo and Giacomo della Porto which is a symbol of Vatican City. With an internal diameter of 41.47 metres, it is supported by 4 gigantic pillars with niches containing the statues of San Longino by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, Saint Helena by Andrea Bolgi, Santa Veronica by Francesco Mochi, and Sant'Andrea by François Duquesnoy. The vaulting between the 16 ribs features mosaics of that are supported by four massive pillars. The triangular spaces where the pillars meet the dome are decorated with mosaics depicting scenes with Christ, the apostles, and busts of popes and saints. Light enters through the central lantern and the 16 large windows below the cornice. The base of the dome features the inscription 'TV ES PETRVS ET SVPER HANC PETRAM AEDIFICABO ECCLESIAM MEAM. TIBI DABO CLAVES REGNI CAELORVM' (you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven). The base of the lantern has the inscription 'S. PETRI GLORIAE SIXTVS PP. V. A. M. D. XC. PONTIF. V.' (To the glory of St Peter, Sixtus V, pope, in the year 1590, the fifth of his pontificate). You can take an elevator or climb the stairway of 551 steps to the top of the dome for panoramic views over the Vatican, and St Peter's Square, framed by colonnades with an obelisk at the centre.
  • Bernini’s 29 metre high baldachin underneath the dome is one of the largest pieces of bronze in the world. It stands over the papal altar which marks the site of St Peter's grave. Four 20 metre tall Solomonic columns on marble plinths support the canopy, which has 4 life-size angels at the corners.
  • Michelangelo’s marble Pietà in the first chapel on the north aisle depicts the body of Jesus on Mary's lap after the Crucifixion. The noted Renaissance work balances the ideals of classical beauty with naturalism.

Explore the basilica to see the symbolic Chair of Saint Peter, Arnolfo di Cambio's bronze statue of Saint Peter Enthroned, tombs of the Popes, and other art works in the chapels. The left transept leads to the Museo Storico-Artistico, which showcases the treasury comprising historical ecclesiastical objects. The Vatican Grottoes beneath the basilica contain the tombs and sarcophagi of numerous popes, as well as columns from the original 4th century basilica.


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About St. Peter's Basilica

 Piazza San Pietro, 00120 Città del Vaticano, Vatican City

 +39 06 69883229

 www.vatican.va

St. Peter's Basilica and Nearby Sights on Map

Piazza del Campidoglio

On top of the Capitol hill, the piazza was designed by Michelangelo

Palazzo dei Conservatori

Also based on a Michelangelo architectural plan, this compact gallery is well endowed in classical sculpture and paintings

Capitoline Hill

The Capitoline Hill may be the smallest of the Seven Hills of Rome, but it certainly was important to the ancient Romans who believed that it was indestructible, and adopted it as a symbol of eternity

Musei Capitolini

Tabularium

The remains of the ancient Roman archives, where Cicero and Seneca did research

Santa Maria in Aracoeli

The Basilica of St

Altare della Patria

The Altare della Patria or Altar of the Father honors Victor Emmanuel II, the first king of a unified Italy and Father of the Fatherland

Piazza Venezia

More of an enormous traffic circle than a piazza, but a good central location

Mamertine Prison

Leaders of Rome's defeated enemies were imprisoned here where they either died of starvation or strangulation

Palazzo Venezia

In the very heart of the city center, the building was for centuries ago the seat of the Venice embassy