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General Info

St. Peter's Basilica

St. Peter’s Basilica is so loaded with spiritual and historic significance that it really does transport us towards the infinite. Built over what is believed the burial place of the apostle Peter after his martyrdom in the Circus of Nero in the mid-1st century AD, the building we see today is the product of some of the greatest minds of theirs or any time.

It was the Emperor Constantine to lay the foundations for the first St. Peter’s, which remained in use for more than a thousand years from 4th to the 16th centuries. However, with the rise in importance of the Papacy, Pope Julius II ordered its demolition for a completely new structure, with designs coming from the likes of Bramante, Raphael, Michelangelo and Bernini only to name the most illustrious.

The ‘new’ St. Peters took no less than 120 years to complete from 1506 to 1626 and is adorned with the marks of these geniuses: Michelangelo’s dome and ‘Pietà’, Bernini’s colonnade in St. Peter’s Square and spectacular gilded bronze baldachin over the papal altar are just a few of its treasures. 

Get direct Skip the Line access to St. Peter's Basilica on all City Wonders Vatican Museums tours.

Opening hours

 St. Peter's Basilica

  • April to September from 07:00 to 19:00
  • October to March from 07:00 to 18:00
  • Closed Some Public Holidays


  • Is there a mandatory dress code?

    Yes, the Vatican has a strict dress code. Men, women and children must have their shoulders and knees covered at all times.

  • I am taking a Vatican Tour that includes Saint Peter’s Basilica, will we go up the dome?

    It is possible to climb the Dome on your own if you wish, however you will need to purchase a ticket directly on site.  Our tours do not include a visit to the Dome. Please note that if you intend to climb the Dome after your tour ends, you should make sure to book a morning tour (not on a Wednesday) as the Dome access is already closed in the afternoon before our afternoon tours reach Saint Peter’s Basilica, and the Basilica is often closed on Wednesday mornings.

  • How can I see the crypts in St. Peter's Basilica?

    In our Vatican Sistine Chapel Express with St. Peter’s Basilica Tour you will be able to see them. This tour is our only tour that visits the tombs of the most important Popes of all time in a special crypt beneath St. Peter’s Basilica.

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