Visiting St. Peter’s Basilica, the largest church in the world, is a special experience. We will inform you about opening hours and when St. Peter’s Basilica is closed, St. Peter’s Basilica dress code, waiting times, skip the line and the best time to visit St. Peter’s Cathedral.
St. Peter's Basilica Entrance
On principle, every person is allowed to visit St. Peter’s Basilica. Only for the Pope’s Masses and Papal Audiences you have to pre-order tickets.
As in all sacral sites, you must follow the dress code in St. Peter’s Basilica. Shoulders and knees must be covered and you need sturdy shoes. This also applies to children. It is at the discretion of the volunteers of St. Peter’s whether they consider your clothes appropriate.
St. Peter's Cathedral hours
April – September 7-18:30
October – March 7-19
St. Peter’s Basilica is closed during all events for which you need tickets. These are the Pope’s Masses and the Papal Audiences. All information on the dates can be found in the monthly overviews and in our
St. Peter's Basilica entry fee 2019 - 2020
St. Peter’s Cathedral entrance fee: The entrance to St. Peter’s Basilica is free. 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 audiences must be ordered in advance in good time.
St. Peter's Basilica security checks
To visit St. Peter’s Basilica, you must pass a security check. Normally the security checkpoint is on the right side of St. Peter’s Square. At major events, additional checkpoints under the portico of the Bernini will be opened.
You must not carry dangerous items such as scissors or knives, and metal bottles are often rejected. You may take drinks in plastic bottles and umbrellas.
St. Peter's Cathedral skip the line
People with disabilities do not need to queue.
If you have booked online an audioguide or a guided tour by the official Visitor Service of St. Peter’s Basilica, you can go directly to the meeting point with skip the line access to the security checkpoint.
The meeting point is under the right arcade behind the post office of the Vatican. The audio guide costs 19.50 euros, the guided tour for St. Peter’s Basilica 27 euros.
A tour of the Vatican Museums with St. Peter’s Basilica will take you straight through, as you have passed the security check already in the Vatican Museums.
Best time to visit St. Peter's Cathedral
It is the quietest morning in St. Peter’s Basilica. Until about 8:30 you do not have to expect long queues at the security checkpoint.
As a rule, St. Peter’s Basilica is not accessible on Wednesday mornings, when the Papal Audience takes place in St. Peter’s Square, and on Sunday at Pope’s Masses.
However, there are a few reasons why you might not want to visit St. Peter’s in the early morning:
Grottoes: Although the grottoes are officially open from 7am, they are usually only accessible later, because liturgical celebrations are held.
Dome: It is difficult to photograph Rome in the morning from the dome while the sun is in the east.
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St. Peter's dome tickets
St. Peter's dome hours
April – September 8-18
October – March 8-17
Entrance treasury and grottoes
Entrance to the Treasury is to be paid. The visit of the grottoes is free.
St. Peter's treasury hours
April – September 8-18:15
October – March 8-17:15
The grottoes open at 7, but are only accessible for liturgical celebrations. In general, it can be said that the grottoes are never accessible to visitors before 9, and sometimes much later. The grottoes can be closed at any time for liturgical celebrations.
The official opening hours of the grottoes are:
April – September 7-18
October – March 7-17
St. Peter's Square entry
St. Peter’s Square is usually open and accessible day and night. However, depending on the event, there are reserved areas that are closed off and sometimes it is closed in the early morning.
Bernini designed the colonnades around St. Peter’s Square in such a way that pilgrims can find shelter in it. Pope Francis set up washrooms on the right side of the colonnades.
In November 2019, Pope Francis inaugurated a reception center for the homeless next to St. Peter’s Square. Video on Vatican News