How much is the entrance to St. Peter’s? How much is the visit to the dome of St. Peter’s? How do you avoid the queues at St. Peter’s? This and more can be found here.
St Peter’s Basilica Tickets. St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican is one of the ten most visited attractions worldwide. St Peter’s Basilica is the largest church in the world. You should expect at least one hour for the visit and a tour of St. Peter’s Basilica. In addition, it often takes up to an hour to wait at the security check.
If you book an audioguide or a guided tour from the Visiting Service of St. Peter’s, you can bypass the security check queue.
Below the St. Peter’s Basilica are the grottos. The caves were created by erecting the present St. Peter’s Basilica one floor above the first basilica of the 4th century built by Emperor Constantine. In the grottoes many popes and high-ranking personalities are buried.
You can go down to the grottos on the stairs at the Pope altar. In the grottoes you are on the floor of the ancient basilica from the 4th century. The path through the caves ends above the visitor center of St. Peter’s at the entrance to the dome. You will need about fifteen minutes to visit the caves.
For the ascent to the dome you need another hour.
St Peter's Basilica · Avoid queues
There are three ways to avoid the queues at St. Peter’s Basilica:
- You get up early and visit St Peter’s in the morning. Before 9 o’clock is usually no queue at the security check
- You take the guided tour of the Vatican museums and St Peter’s which includes the direct passage from the Sistine Chapel to St Peter’s *)
- You book an audioguide or a guided tour with preferential access to the security checkpoint at St. Peter’s Basilica
On Wednesday morning, access to St. Peter’s Basilica is not possible when the Pope’s general audience is held in St Peter’s Square
This is the official ticket for the audio guide with preferential access at the official price and no hidden costs. The service is provided by the Official tourist service for Saint Peter’s Basilica. You can print out the ticket or show it on your mobile phone.
The preferred access to the security checkpoint is on the right side of St Peter’s Square under the right-hand colonnade of the Bernini behind the post office.
There are the employees of the official tour operator of Saint Peter’s Vox Mundi, providing the preferred access to the security check.
This service is free of cost for persons with disabilities and a companion.
St Peter's Basilica · Security check
At major events such as the papals Audience on Wednesday and the Pope’s Angelus Prayer on Sunday, additional checkpoints will open in the colonnades of the Bernini.
Pocket knives and other potentially dangerous items are not allowed, drinks and umbrellas can be taken. The security check does not pay attention to the dress code.
St. Peter's Basilica · Dress code
For footwear, shoes, sandals or barefoot in St. Peter’s Basilica, there are no fixed rules and it is up to the honorary inspectors whether you are admitted. With beach sandals, you definitely can not get into St. Peter’s Basilica. Pilgrims and Capuchin monks are certainly also admitted barefoot. But there is no rule.
Since you are walking a lot in Rome anyway, you should not dare to experiment and wear sturdy shoes.
St. Peter’s Basilica is the main church of Catholic Christendom and seat of the Pope. 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. Information can be found in my article Marriages in Rome.
The basilica opens at 7 o’clock and closes in the summer at 7pm, in winter at 6:30pm. During Pope’s Masses and audiences, the basilica, the grottoes and the dome are not accessible.
St Peter’s basilica dome – la cupola – opens at 8 am and closes at 6 pm from April to September and at 4:45 pm from October to March. Admission is to be paid for. There is the possibility to climb on foot the 231 steps to the roof of St. Peter’s Basilica or to take the elevator.
The entrance with ascent via the stairs costs 8 euros, with the elevator 10 euros. From the roof of St. Peter’s Basilica the ascent to the dome goes over 320 steps.
The entrance to the dome is on the right side of St. Peter’s Basilica above the visitor’s center at the exit of the grottoes. Usually you have to queue at the box office.
Here you can book tickets for the preferred access to the security check of St. Peter’s Basilica including the audio guide for St. Peter’s Basilica. The ticket for the dome is not included.
In addition to the tours with audioguide, there is a guided tour in English that includes St Peter’s Basilica, Grottoes and Dome. This tour starts at 8:15 am.
The roof of St Peter’s Basilica
Usually you take the elevator to the roof of St Peter’s Basilica and then you can go up to the dome over 320 steps. If you are athletic, you can take the 231 steps to the roof instead of the elevator and pay a little less. From the roof of St Peter’s Basilica you have a beautiful view of St Peter’s Square and the city, also you can look down into the basilica from a gallery at the base of the dome.
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.
As you descend the stairs from the transept, you are in front of the tomb of St. Peter. The route leads past the graves of some popes to the exit. If you do not want to stay for a prayer, the Grottoes are the fastest way out of St. Peter’s Basilica.
Less known is the treasury of St. Peter’s Basilica behind the sacristy on the left side of the basilica. Here you will find valuable utensils, statues, robes and tiaras as well as the remarkable funerary monument to Sixtus IV from the 15th century. Tickets can be purchased directly at the entrance to the treasury.
When the Pope is in Rome, the Pope’s audience takes place on Wednesday morning. On Sunday morning, the Pope often celebrates a public mass and at noon the Angelus prayer. The current calendar of audiences and masses can be found in my
St. Peter's Basilica · Virtual Tour 360°
At the beginning of 2019 Osram realized the new illumination of St. Peter’s Basilica with LED lamps. Osram documents the work with a virtual 360° tour of St. Peter’s Basilica.
The Campo Santo Teutonico is accessible only via the Vatican area and is open daily from 7am-noon as well as at masses. The entrance to the Campo is located, seen from St. Peter’s Square, behind the left columns of the Bernini. If you want to visit the cemetery or the church of Santa Maria della Pietà, you have to ask the Swiss Guards for access at the entrance in German language.