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 of Rome, Italy within the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" which can be downloaded from 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 when traveling abroad.

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St. Peter's Basilica on 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
Trevi and Colonna Walking Tour

Trevi and Colonna Walking Tour

The Trevi rione (district) of Rome, which is the 2nd rione, is most famous for the Trevi Fountain, as well as for being home to several magnificent public libraries. Colonna is the 3rd rione of Rome and takes its name from the rione's most famous landmark, the Column of Marcus Aurelius in the Piazza Colonna. Colonna is also home to several palazzos, churches and other landmarks.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.6 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
"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
Colosseum to Pantheon Walking Tour

Colosseum to Pantheon Walking Tour

The say, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do” and that undoubtedly implies appreciating the enormous historical and architectural richness of the city, often – and rightly so – referred to as “eternal”. Stretching from Colosseum to Pantheon, this 3km-walk invites you to explore the most notable attractions of the Italian capital, including the Arch of Constantine, Palatine Hill, Roman Forum, Capitoline Hill and more.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 km
Classical Sites Walking Tour

Classical Sites Walking Tour

Rome's glory didn't end with the fall of the Roman empire, it continued as a melting point of culture and creativity for centuries. Today, the city is a fabulous architectural patchwork, a living masterpiece, and a true tribute to its history. This tour is the perfect introduction to Rome's famous classical sites.

Tour Duration: 2 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.4 km

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