St. Peter's Basilica, Rome

St. Peter's Basilica, Rome (must see)

Whether you are a seasoned traveler or a beginner, you will probably never see a church as magnificent as the Basilica of St Peter in the Vatican City. This beautiful church is one of the biggest in the world and is considered one of the holiest places in Rome. The original church was built in 324 AD, commissioned by Emperor Constantine and built over the shrine marking the burial place of the martyred St Peter. St Peter, who has one of the Apostles and considered as the 1st pope, was crucified head-down (at his request, as he felt unworthy to die in the same manner as Christ). Many popes were buried in the basilica between the 4th and 15th centuries.

During the years that the papal seat was located in Avignon, France, the Old Basilica fell into disrepair. In 1505 Pope Julius II decided to have the church demolished and a new one built that would house his tomb, which was enormous. Over the next 120 years, many popes and architects worked on the plans and the basilica grew and grew. Designed principally by Donato Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno and Gian Lorenzo Bernini, St. Peter's is the most renowned work of Renaissance architecture and remains the largest church in the world. The famous dome is 42 meters in diameter and 120 meters high. Around the inside of the dome is an inscription which in English reads: "You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church. ... I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven". While it is neither the mother church of the Catholic Church nor the Catholic Roman Rite cathedral of the Diocese of Rome, St. Peter's is regarded as one of the holiest Catholic sites. It has been described as "holding a unique position in the Christian world" and as "the greatest of all churches of Christendom".

The interior of the church is a monument to Late Renaissance design. Vast and richly decorated, you can admire monuments and altars dedicated to numerous kings and popes. Here, you will find Michelangelo’s 'La Pieta' and over 39 statues of saints. In the nave is a circular slab of Imperial Porphyry where Holy Roman Emperors knelt during their coronation. In the crypt, you can see the remains of the early churches that stood on this site. There are also the tombs of many popes, including that of Pope Jean Paul II.

Why You Should Visit:
Intricate architecture and art throughout, with every surface being covered in something beautiful.

Tips:
Go there early in the morning to avoid long lines.
Admission is free (before 5pm when the gates close), but expect to be assessed before entry. Knees and shoulders should be covered (ladies: there are many people selling affordable scarves nearby).
If you are adventurous go up to the top of the dome. An elevator ride saves you climbing 300+ stairs.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 7am-6:30pm
Sight description based on wikipedia

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in Rome. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for IOS   Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for Android

St. Peter's Basilica on Map

Sight Name: St. Peter's Basilica
Sight Location: Rome, Italy (See walking tours in Rome)
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in Rome, Italy

Create Your Own Walk in Rome

Create Your Own Walk in Rome

Creating your own self-guided walk in Rome is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Rome Shopping Streets Walking Tour

Rome Shopping Streets Walking Tour

Loved by tourists for its busy fashionable streets and significant baroque icons, the so-called ‘Tridente’ is one of the Eternal City's most lusted-after areas, formed by Via dei Condotti, Via Borgognona, Via Frattina and the adjacent Via del Corso. It is perhaps the most high-end destination for Roman shopping, with a concentration of renowned jewelers and important Italian/international...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 Km or 1.8 Miles
Rome Introduction Walking Tour II

Rome Introduction Walking Tour II

The historic center of Rome is packed with numerous landmarks and genuine works of art, to see all of which may take days if not weeks. This Rome Introduction Walk II highlights some of the key sights emerged during the Renaissance and Baroque periods, comprising some truly magnificent marvels of architecture. Among the featured landmarks here are the Spanish Steps, the Pantheon, Piazza Navona,...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.4 Km or 2.1 Miles
EUR Sightseeing Walking Tour

EUR Sightseeing Walking Tour

Esposizione Universale Roma (EUR) is a suburban area in Rome established in 1942, it was designed to host an exhibition which didn't take place due to World War II. EUR is popular for the period architecture of Palazzo della Civiltà Italiana. The area also contains some very important landmarks of history and culture, including Museo della Civiltà Romana, Pigorini Museo Nazionale...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.6 Km or 2.2 Miles
Food Tasting Walking Tour

Food Tasting Walking Tour

Whether it’s a long lunch or a stop-off for an ice cream on an evening stroll, eating in Rome is a very social activity. Culinary traditions run deep here, and it may well be one of Italy’s most pleasurable cities in which to eat. Deli shops, prosciutterias, pizzerias, fornos (bakeries) and caffès are also very popular and offer a great alternative to a restaurant meal.

On this...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.7 Km or 1.7 Miles
Spanish Steps to Trevi Fountain

Spanish Steps to Trevi Fountain

An established tourist mecca, today's Rome is hardly imaginable without two of its much loved attractions – the Spanish Steps and the Trevi Fountain. Magnets for tourists as they are, these two sights are connected to a number of other, not less worthy of attention locations, such as the Fountain of the Longboat or Piazza Colonna and its centerpiece, the Column of Marcus Aurelius, to...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.0 Km or 1.2 Miles
Fountains and Squares Walking Tour

Fountains and Squares Walking Tour

In Rome there is a lively piazza round almost every corner, each with its own unique atmosphere and its own story to tell. These public squares have been the center of Roman culture for centuries, and some of the city’s most popular attractions are located within them.

Most piazzas have a fountain in the center and a lot of cafes around. In fact, Rome holds the largest number of fountains in...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.1 Km or 2.5 Miles

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


17 Best Gelaterias in Rome Italy

17 Best Gelaterias in Rome Italy

For ice cream lovers and dabblers this guide is a treasure chest of Rome’s best gelato shops. There are gelaterias everywhere. Many visitors to Rome only have a few days to explore the city. You owe it to yourself to make the most of your time and find the gelato locals eat. Often the authentic...
10 Best Food Markets in Rome Italy

10 Best Food Markets in Rome Italy

Of all the things Italy is most famous for (cars, music, fashion, movies, etc.), food is, undoubtedly, top of the list. Rome may well not be the whole Italy, but no Italy is whole without Rome... And the Romans, much as all their fellow-Italians, like it "fresco", hence the abundance of...
Souvenirs Shopping: 15 Authentic Italian Things To Buy in Rome

Souvenirs Shopping: 15 Authentic Italian Things To Buy in Rome

Rome is the Eternal City and, as such, the list of gift options available here is countless. Whether it's something edible, drinkable, wearable or pleasing to the eye that you want - you will find it all here in abundance. However, if time or budget is the factor, perhaps you might want to...