St. Peter’s Basilica opening hours tickets dome grottoes

St. Peter’s Basilica Tickets · Opening hours · Dome

St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome is a breathtaking sight that you have to experience in person. The fascinating, imposing dome by Michelangelo rises above the tomb of St. Peter.

Popular tours for the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica

Partner links help us to provide our information free of charge. For completed bookings we receive a commission – at no extra cost to you! More

St. Peter’s Basilica

St. Peter’s Basilica is the main church of Catholic Christendom and seat of the Pope.

St. Peter's in the early morning

The present building dates mainly from the 16th and 17th centuries. It has one of the largest interiors in the world.

Since 1547, St Peter is also a parish. Here baptisms, confirmations and marriages are made. Read about getting married in Rome.

Opening times

St. Peter’s Basilica is open every day. The opening times are:

Summer:

April – September 7 – 19:10

Winter:

October – March 7 – 19:10

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 holiday calendar.

Entrance

St. Peter's Basilica St. Peter's Square

All people can visit St. Peter’s Basilica as long as they behave appropriately and respect the dress code. Entry to St. Peter’s Basilica is free, but there are often long queues at security.

In principle, everyone can visit the St. Peter’s Basilica. Only for the Pope’s Masses and Papal Audiences you have to pre-order tickets.

You cannot visit the Sistine Chapel, where the popes are elected, from St. Peter’s Basilica. It belongs to the Vatican Museums.

Tickets

Entrance fees: Entry to St. Peter’s Basilica is free. Since January 2023, there is no visitor service at St. Peter’s Basilica with priority entry. It is therefore worth booking an early guided tour or an early ascent of the dome to avoid the long queues that often form during the day.

More information about St. Peter’s Basilica tickets on

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.

Digital Pass Vatican

Digital Pass Rom

Dress Code

St. Peter's Basilica dress code

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.

Security controls

You are not allowed to take any dangerous objects such as scissors or knives with you and metal bottles will also be rejected. You can take drinks in plastic bottles and umbrellas with you.

St. Peter's Basilica queue

People with disabilities do not need to queue. Pilgrims and worshippers have their own access “Percorso Preghiera”.

There are guided tours for the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica with direct passage from the Sistine Chapel to St. Peter’s Basilica. Since you have already passed the security check in the Vatican Museums, you can go to St. Peter’s Basilica without any further check.

Best time to visit

In principle, it is quietest in St. Peter’s Basilica in the morning. Don’t expect long queues at security until around 8:30 am.

St. Peter's Basilica nave

However, most of the time you can’t visit the grottoes in the morning because masses are celebrated. If you climb the dome, the photos will not be so good because the sun rises over the city.

Late afternoon is also usually less busy. However, it can be very hot when you climb the dome, especially from June to October, depending on the weather.

St. Peter’s Basilica is usually not accessible on Wednesday mornings, when the papal audience is held in St. Peter’s Square, and during papal masses.

Dome

Vatican Museums with St. Peter's Dome at night

The dome was designed by Michelangelo. Unfortunately, he did not live to see the completion. The elevator to the dome is in St. Peter’s Basilica on the left. The ticket office is in the vestibule on the left side under the equestrian statue of Charlemagne.

To visit the dome, you can either take the elevator to the roof of St. Peter’s Basilica or walk up 231 steps. The ascent to the dome takes another 320 steps.

with elevator € 10, on foot € 8, school groups € 5 with list of names

St. Peter’s dome opening hours

The ticket office for access to the dome is located in the portico of St. Peter’s Basilica and the elevator to the roof is in the basilica on the left. The opening hours are 7:30 – 18, in case of long queues the entrance closes at 17:30.

Ascent to the dome

The way to the top of the cupola is one-way. Inverting the ascent is difficult to impossible. During the ascent you can smell fear pheromones. If you suffer from claustrophobia, you should not dare to climb! On the other hand, there is not much you can do, you will be pushed by the people behind you.

The further you get to the top, the narrower the gait will be until you have to climb up curved in the corridor along the cupola. The last piece is a staircase upwards.

In good weather you will be rewarded with a wonderful view over the city and the gardens of the Vatican.

Treasury and grottoes

Under the basilica are the grottoes. They were created by the fact that the current structure was built one floor above the first basilica of the Emperor Constantine from the 4th century. Many popes and high-ranking personalities are buried in the grottoes.

You can descend to the grottoes by the pillars that support the dome. The path through the grottoes ends above St. Peter’s Visitor Center at the entrance to the dome.

Admission is required to visit the Treasury. The visit to the grottoes is free of charge.

Treasury opening hours

When St. Peter’s Basilica is open, you can also visit the treasury. The treasury is located on the left side of St. Peter’s Basilica and has the following opening hours:

Summer:

April – September 9 – 18:15

Winter:

October – March 9 – 17:15

Grottoes opening hours

The grottoes are often 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.

How to get to St. Peter’s Basilica

St. Peter’s Basilica is located on Vatican Hill, which in ancient times was a burial ground outside Rome. Next to it was the racetrack of Emperor Nero, where the apostle Peter is said to have been crucified. He was then buried on Vatican Hill and later the first basilica of St. Peter was built here in his honor.

To get from the city center to St. Peter’s Basilica, you have to cross the Tiber. From Piazza Navona, the Angel Bridge leads to the imposing Castel Sant’Angelo, a signpost on the way to the Vatican.

Bus route 64 connects Termini Central Station with St. Peter’s Basilica. The Cavalleggeri/San Pietro stop is located after passing through a tunnel. Several bus lines stop on the banks of the Tiber, at the Ospedale Santo Spirito: the express bus line 40 with departure and terminus at Termini, line 23 from Prati to the Basilica San Paolo fuori le mura and lines 46, 280 and 115.

Between St. Peter’s Basilica and the Vatican Museums is Piazza del Risorgimento, which is served by streetcar 19 and various bus lines such as 32, 81, 49, 492, 913 and 982.

The metro line A stops a little further away at Ottaviano station. Both bus line 64 and the metro are known to be frequented by pickpockets.

From San Pietro station, it is only a few minutes’ walk to St. Peter’s Basilica. Cruise ship passengers docking in Civitavecchia often get off here. From Fiumicino airport, take the train to Trastevere station and then change to San Pietro.

Masses in St. Peter’s Basilica

Of course, numerous Masses are celebrated in St. Peter’s Basilica. The following times apply:

AltarWeekdaysHolidays
Choir Chapel - in the nave on the left
Chapel of the blessed Sacrament - in the nave on the right8.30
Altar of St. Joseph - in the transept on the left7.00, 7.30, 9.00, 10.00, Angelus 12:007.00, 8.00
Cattedra - behind the Baldacchino11.00, 12.00, 17.00, 18.009.00, 10.00, 12.00, 16.00, 18.00, Vespri 17.00

In addition, on weekdays at 18:00 and after the Papal Audience at 12:00 there is a Pilgrim Mass with meeting point at the statue of St. Peter.

Private groups make appointments for Masses in the sacristy. Masses can usually be held in the morning in the grottoes.

Have masses celebrated – Mass stipends

St. Peter's Basilica Entrance to the sacristy
Entrance to the sacristy

The Mass stipend is the donation for the celebration of a Holy Mass. The intent that the faithful wishes to bring to the Holy Mass is the Mass intention.

For a Mass stipend, you must go to the sacristy of St. Peter’s Basilica. The Sacristy is located on the left side of the Basilica in front of the Treasury.

If the entrance is blocked, you can call at the Treasury and someone will come to give you access.

In the sacristy you can pay the Mass stipend, 10 euros per Mass, and receive a receipt.

The Mass will be celebrated in the course of the following two weeks. You cannot set an exact date.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.