However, completed in 349 AD, it slowly fell into ruin. There were several attempts to bring it back to life. For, instance, in the middle of the 15th century, Pope Nicholas V ordered a full-scale restoration. But, it wasn't until 500 years later that real progress took place. It was Pope Julius II who decided to build an entirely new church. Hence, over the course of the next century, the Cathedral would see a number of great architects, including Michelangelo (who designed its iconic dome), work towards its completion. Finally, in 1626, 120 years after construction began, it was consecrated.
Now, although a St Peter’s Basilica tour isn’t a must, it is a great way to experience the church. In fact, a tour of St Peter’s Basilica will be able to bring you into the history of the structure in a way that no guidebook can. For instance, you may learn that the statues on the upper attic of Carlo Maderno’s immense facade represent Christ the Redeemer and his 12 apostles. You may also like to know the fact that Michelangelo completed the beautifully sculpted Pietà at the age of 25. And, If you have any questions about Bernini’s bronze baldachin that stands over the altar and St Peter’s grave, you will be able to direct them to your guide.
So remember, if you plan on visiting St Peter’s Basilica you don’t need St Peter’s Basilica tickets. But, it is definitely worth checking out skip the line options for a hassle and wait-free experience.
St Peter’s Basilica is opened every day, though the hours vary only slightly between high and low seasons:
The St Peter’s dome opens at 8 am and closes one hour before the official closing time of the Basilica.
There are several different ways to reach St Peter’s Basilica:
Bus & Trams:
St. Peter's Basilica is notorious for the extremely long lines that form in front of it. Therefore, it’s a good idea to arrive fairly early, especially at in summer when the temperatures can be absolutely sweltering. Beware that most mornings, the lines are already winding around the square by 11:00 am.
St Peter’s basilica entry is free of charge. However, you can purchase skip the line tickets to avoid queuing. Also, while the main body of the church is free, you have to pay to access the cupola with stunning views of the square. St Peter’s dome tickets price is different for those climbing the stairs and those choosing the elevator: 6 € stairs, 8 € the elevator.
Yes, you can. And, quite frankly, it’s an experience not to be missed. The view of the St Peter’s Square with Rome’s skyline in the background is simply incredible.
When it comes to all things Vatican, a guided tour is definitely worth it. Most guided tours sell a full package including all, St Peter’s Basilica, Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel entry. Plus, you get to enter the Basilica via a secret passage behind the Sistine Chapel.
The Pope holds a public audience every Wednesday on St. Peter’s Square during summer and in the Audience Hall during winter. The audience kicks off at 10:30 am. However, most visitors get there earlier to get a good seat or a seat.
Since St Peter’s Basilica is a Catholic church, a place of worship, appropriate clothing is an absolute must. Regardless of the high summer temperatures, shorts, mini skirts, and bare shoulders are not acceptable – the dress code is very strictly enforced. In fact, hundreds of people get turned down for not adhering to it whether or not you paid to get in.
At the foot of the stairs up to the basilica, there is an entrance to a reception area that offers several different services: