Things to do in Rome

Why You Must Explore St. Peter’s Basilica From The Inside

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The Vatican City is home to some of the world's most historically significant religious structures, drawing millions of visitors each year. One of the most important buildings in Vatican City is St. Peter's Basilica. St Peter's Basilica, Italy's largest, richest, and most impressive basilica, stands out in a city full of magnificent cathedrals.

St. Peter's Basilica is a fantastic example of Baroque design, combining ingenuity with a willingness to bend the rules. As impressive and grand as the St. Peter’s Basilica is from St. Peter’s Square, the interior takes its ornate appeal to the next level.

Before You Enter St. Peter's Basilica

After 120 years of construction on top of a fourth-century church, it was consecrated in 1626. Emperor Constantine commissioned the initial church, which was built around CE 349 on the location where it is supposed that St Peter was buried between CE 64 and 67. But, like many old churches, it fell into ruin, and it was not rebuilt until the mid-fifteenth century, first by Pope Nicholas V and then, more effectively, by Julius II. Presently, the basilica is one of the most recognizable tourist attractions in the world, besides being a consecrated emblem of Christianity.

Exploring St. Peter's Basilica from the Inside

St. Peter's Basilica

When in Rome, the one thing you must do is visit St. Peter’s Basilica. The interior of the church gives you several reasons to explore it.

The Pietà: Michelangelo's famous Pietà is one of several notable monuments and memorials inside St. Peter's Basilica. After the Crucifixion, Jesus' body is placed in the lap of his mother Mary in this iconic work of art.

St. Peter's Baldachin: Between 1624 and 1632, Bernini constructed a 98-foot-tall baldachin, an extravagant, ornamental canopy supported by four enormous pillars. The baldachin was created to fill the gap beneath the dome, and the bronze used to construct it is claimed to have come from the Pantheon.

St. Peter's Tomb: The traditional grave of St. Peter is beneath the baldachin. St. Helena holding a large cross in her right hand (by Andrea Bolgi), St. Longinus holding his spear in his right hand (by Bernini), St. Andrew spread upon the cross that bears his name (by Francois Duquesnoy) and St. Veronica holding her veil (by Francesco Mochi) are among the statues that surround the baldachin.

Interior dome inscriptions: The text from Matthew 16:18-19 is written in six-foot-five-inch-high letters along the inside base of the dome. The passages are in Latin. Giovanni Francesco Barbieri created the altarpiece The Burial of St. Petronilla in 1623, which also lies under the dome.

Your St. Peter's Basilica Rome Tickets

There are many different types of St. Peter's Basilica tickets available for purchase online. Here are our personal recommendations:

Choosing The Right St. Peter's Basilica Entrance

The Cupola entrance, also known as the main entrance, offers a spectacular view of the city and can take a little more time during your visit. Going there early is an excellent idea because the entry is right at the beginning, above the visitor's square in St. Peter's Square.

You can see the Grotto of St. Peter's Tomb if you choose the Grotto entrance. This entry is located underground. Unlike the other entries, the treasury entrance requires payment. As a result, you will have to purchase tickets in advance to see them. It is recognizable by the columns that surround it and is located on the left side of St. Peter's Basilica.

Route Guide Inside St. Peter's Basilica Rome

If you're taking a self-guided tour of Rome's St. Peter's Basilica and want a rough route map, follow this:


The Atrium

St Peter's- Atrium
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The Atrium can be accessed right from St. Peter’s Square. You can reach the Atrium or the Portico by going past The Names of the Assumption Episcopi.


The Nave

St Peter's- Nave
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Take the Cupola entrance and then use any of the five entrances: Door of Death, Door of Good and Evil, Filarete Door, Door of the Sacraments, or Holy Door to reach the Nave of St. Peter’s Basilica.



St. Peter's- Pieta
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The Pietà can be reached by taking the Holy Door and then turning right.


St. Peter’s Baldachin

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Enter the Nave and then go past the monuments on either side. St. Peter’s Baldachin will be located right under the highest point of the Dome.


Statue of St. Longinus

St. Longinus
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When in front of St. Peter’s Baldachin, turn around to your right up to an angle of 120 degrees. The Statue of St. Longinus should be a few steps in front of you.


St. Peter’s Tomb

St. Peter's Tomb
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St. Peter’s Tomb is located right under St. Peter’s Baldachin at the end of the Nave, going past the monuments.


The Chair of St. Peter

st. Peter's chair

Go past St. Peter’s Baldachin and through the Tribune at the extreme end of the floor to reach The Chair of St. Peter.


The Altar of St. Gregory the Great

Altar of St. Gregory
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Enter the Nave and then go straight past the first three statues of the Founder Saints on your left. Turn left before reaching the statue of St. Paola. Straight ahead should be The Altar of St. Gregory the Great.

Inside St. Peter's Basilica: Practical Information

Opening Hours

St. Peter’s Basilica is open daily from 7 AM to 6 PM. It is open until 7 PM from April to September.

How To Get To St. Peter's Basilica?

  • By Bus: You can reach St. Peter’s Basilica by taking a bus and getting down at Traspontina/Conciliazione bus stop.
  • By Tram: You can also take a tram and get down at Risorgimento/S. Pietro tram stop. St. Peter’s Basilica is a short walk from here.
  • By Train: The nearest train station from St. Peter’s Basilica is Valle Aurelia Train Station.
  • By Car: You can reach Via Dei Corridori and use the Autorimessa Conciliazione parking lot to park your vehicle near St. Peter’s Basilica.

St. Peter's Basilica: Insider Tips

  • Arrive early and try to visit all parts of St. Peter’s Basilica before the tourist crowd builds up.
  • Use the Cupola entrance of St. Peter's Basilica to gain a bird’s eye view of St. Peter's Square.
  • Strictly follow the dress code when you visit St. Peter’s Basilica. Cover up your knees and shoulders.
  • Ask for the audio guide at the entrance. It does not require any extra charge.
  • Don’t forget to visit the Sistine Chapel when you are at St. Peter’s Basilica.
  • Try the authentic pizza at Antico Forno Roscioli once you are done exploring the basilica.

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Explore The Rest of Rome

Fancy heading out to some other must-visit Rome attractions? Take inspiration from our list of the best things to do in Rome here. Use our comprehensive Rome Travel Guide to explore the rest of Rome in a hassle-free fashion with all the need-to-know information in hand.

Inside St. Peter's Basilica: FAQs

Do I have to pay to visit St. Peter’s Basilica?

Do I have to queue up to enter St. Peter’s Basilica?

Can I access the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel directly from St. Peter’s Basilica?

Are wheelchairs available inside St. Peter’s Basilica?

Can I take my backpack/ umbrella inside St. Peter’s Basilica?

Inside St. Peter's Basilica Guide