For entrance to the Vatican, you must distinguish between the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica. At all sacred sites, you must follow the dress code. In the Vatican, these are St. Peter’s Basilica, the necropolis and the Sistine Chapel, which can only be visited together with the Vatican Museums.
For the Vatican Museums, admission is free on the last Sunday of each month. Hours and tips for the Vatican Museums
Admission fees St. Peter’s Basilica 2019
Admission charge St. Peter’s Basilica: Admission to St. Peter’s Basilica is free of cost. Admission to the Pope’s Mass and Pope’s audiences is also free. The free tickets to the Pope’s Masses and the Pope’s general audiences must be ordered in advance in good time.
However, there are almost all day long queues at the security checkpoints to St. Peter’s Basilica. Usually no queue is in the early morning and just before closure.
How can you bypass the queue?
People with disabilities do not need to queue.
If you have booked an audioguide or a guided tour at the official Visitor Service of St. Peter’s Basilica, you can go directly to the meeting point and pass without wait through the security checkpoint.
The meeting point is under the right arcades of Bernini behind the office of the Vatican Post. The audio guide costs 19.50 euros, the guide for St. Peter’s Basilica 27 euros.
A tour of the Vatican Museums with St. Peter’s Basilica will take you straight to St. Peter’s Basilica, as you have passed the security check already in the Vatican Museums.
Admission and opening hours St. Peter’s square
St. Peter’s Square is generally open and accessible day and night. Depending on the event, however, some areas may be closed off.
Bernini designed the colonnades around St. Peter’s Square in such a way that pilgrims can find shelter in it. Pope Francis has also set up washrooms for homeless persons on the right side of the colonnades.
St. Peter’s Basilica is always open every day and admission is free. All visitors must wear suitable clothing to cover the shoulders and knees. You can’t enter shoeless or with sandals. The opening hours are:
April – September 7 am – 7 pm
October – March 7 am – 6:30 pm
St. Peter’s Basilica is closed to the public during the General Audiences, as well as during the Pontifical Masses and the Angelus prayers of the Pope. The General Audiences always takes place on Wednesday when the Pope is in Rome, and St. Peter’s Basilica is not accessible until about 12 noon. The Angelus prayer takes place on most Sundays and religious holidays at 12 o’clock. All dates can be found in my
Concerning the opening hours of St. Peter’s Dome and the Grottoes, in the case of the closing of St. Peter’s Basilica, the dome and the grottos are also closed. This applies in particular to the Wednesday audiences, the Pope’s Masses and the Angelus Prayer on Sunday. Further details can be found in the monthly overview of the events.
Best time to visit St. Peter’s Basilica
In principle, it is the quietest in the morning in St. Peter’s Basilica. You do not have to expect long queues at the security checkpoints before about 8:30.
As a rule, St. Peter’s Basilica is not accessible on Wednesday morning, when the Papal Audience takes place in St. Peter’s Square, on Sunday noon during the Angelus prayer, and for Pope’s Masses.
However, there are a few reasons why you might not want to visit St. Peter’s in the early morning:
Grottoes: Even if the grottoes are officially open at 7 o’clock, they are usually only accessible later, because liturgical celebrations are held.
Dome: If you want to photograph from the dome, you have to know that the city of Rome is against the light in the morning. On the other hand, in the summer, one naturally prefers to climb the dome in the morning because it is cooler then.
Entrance and opening hours St. Peter’s dome
For access to the dome of St. Peter’s the following opening hours apply:
April – September 8 am – 6 pm
October – March 8 am – 5 pm
Entrance fee for the dome is 8 euros for ascent on foot or 10 euros for the lift ride up to the roof.
On the occasion of the celebrations of the Holy Father, the same closures such as for St. Peter’s during the Pope’s Masses, the General Audiences and the Angelus Prayer (see above) apply to the dome.
Access to the dome is located on the right of the Basilica above the visitor centre.
Opening hours of the grottoes
The grottoes open at 7, but are accessible only for liturgical celebrations. In general it can be said that the grottoes are never accessible to visitors before 9, often even later. The grottoes can be found closed at any time for liturgical celebrations.
With a little luck, you can hope to find the grottoes open at the following times:
April – September 9-18
October – March 9-17
The grottoes are usually accessible from the transept of St. Peter’s Basilica. Admission is free. Sometimes, the grottoes are accessible from the outside, on the left from the entrance to the dome.
Entrance and opening hours of the Treasury
April – September 9 am – 6:15 pm
October – March 9 am – 5:15 pm
The Treasury is located inside the Basilica on the left side. Entrance fee is payable for the museum.
Entrance and opening hours of the necropolis
The necropolis of the 1st century is located below the grottoes and can be visited only with advance reservation and with guide. The minimum age of visitors is 15 years. Online booking is available.
The mosaic studio
The mosaic studio is part of the factory of St. Peter’s. Actually it is not possible to visit it.
Entrance and opening hours of the Vatican gardens
Vatican Gardens are both in the Vatican and in the summer residence of the Popes Castel Gandolfo. Tickets for the Vatican Gardens in Rome are available in combination with the Vatican Museums and the Sistine Chapel.
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