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, 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.

Tip:
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

This sight is featured in a self-guided walking tour in Rome, Italy, in the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded on iTunes App Store or Google Play. Please download the app to your mobile phone or tablet for travel directions for visiting this sight. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline so no data plan is needed.

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Sight Map

Sight Name: St. Peter's Basilica
Sight Location: Rome, Italy
Sight Type: Religious
Guide(s) containing this sight: Classical Sites Walking Tour   Vatican Walking Tour  

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.
Monti and Celio Walking Tour

Monti and Celio Walking Tour

Take this tour to explore the Monti and Celio rioni (districts). Celio is the 19th rione of Rome, its coat of arms features an elephant headdress with golden tusks on a silver background, in memory of an African bust that was found in via Capo d'Africa. Monti is actually the first rione, its name literally means "mountains". Monti's coat of arms consists of three green mountains on a silver background, since the rione originally encompassed the Esquiline and the Viminal Hills, and parts of the Quirinal and the Caelian Hills.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.9 km
"Roman Holiday" Movie Walking Tour

"Roman Holiday" Movie Walking Tour

"Roman Holiday" (1953) is a movie, filmed entirely in Rome and beloved by generations of people. Starring Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck, the film won three Oscars, giving Hepburn a boost to her glorious film career. The main storyline centers around a day of freedom in the beautiful Italian capital for an otherwise duty-bound Princess Ann. Take the following tour to live the happiest day of her life in Rome!

Tour Duration: 4 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 8.9 km
Campitelli & St'Angelo Walking Tour

Campitelli & St'Angelo Walking Tour

Campitelli and Sant'Angelo are two of Rome's oldest rioni (districts), they are located at the heart of ancient Rome and are home to the most sought after landmarks; such as the Colosseum, Theater of Marcellus, Temple of Saturn, and Arch of Constantine. Take this tour to explore Campitelli, the tenth rione, and Sant'Angelo, the eleventh and the smallest historic rione of Rome.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.9 km
Museums Walk

Museums Walk

As an ancient and cultural city, Rome is packed with museums which demonstrate its value in the world of culture and civilization. When it comes to art, Rome contains the most significant artifacts in the world, including sculptures, paintings, pottery, and porcelain; all hidden within the splendid palaces of the city. Take the following tour to better acquaint yourself with the splendors of Rome.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 5.5 km
Trastevere Walking Tour

Trastevere Walking Tour

Take this tour to explore Trastevere, the 13th rione (district) of Rome, located on the west bank of the Tiber, south of Vatican City. Its name comes from the Latin "trans Tiberim", literally "beyond the Tiber". Although the rione was established during the times of ancient Rome, it grew and formed as a true part of the city in the Middle Ages, as a result it is characterized by narrow, cobbled streets and medieval buildings.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.2 km
Souvenir Shopping Tour

Souvenir Shopping Tour

It would be a pity to leave Rome without having explored its specialty shops and bringing home something truly original. We've compiled a list of gifts and souvenirs, which are unique to Rome, that a visitor might like to purchase to reflect their visit.

Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 6.5 km

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