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Background Info St Peter’s Basilica (Basilica di San Pietro)
In this city of outstanding churches, none can hold a candle to St Peter’s (Basilica di San Pietro), Italy’s largest, richest and most spectacular basilica. Built atop an earlier 4th-century church, it was consecrated in 1626 after 120 years of construction. Its lavish interior contains many spectacular works of art, including two of Italy’s most celebrated masterpieces: Michelangelo’s Pietà, his soaring dome, and Bernini’s 29m-high baldachin over the papal altar.
Highlights & Tips St. Peter’s Basilica
It’s the world’s largest Basilica of Christianity, nestled in the heart of the Vatican city, the huge façade is 114 metres wide and 47 metres high. It has a surface of 22000 square metres and 20,000 persons can pray in it.
Once you arrive at the square, things start to click. This is the square you’ve seen on the news, and yes there is the balcony the Pope is seen at.
Assuming the Pope is in residence, on Sundays at noon, the pope usually appears at the window to pray and bless the crowd in St Peter’s Square.
If you want more out of your visit than the images caught on your camera you need to either book a guided tour or an audio guide to make sense of what you are seeing.
The dress code is strictly enforced at St. Peter’s Basilica. No shorts, bare shoulders or miniskirts. This applies to both men and women. Explore the St. Peter’s Basilica floorplan first and avoid getting lost. Guided Tours are highly recommended.
Opening Hours & Best Time to visit St. Peter’s Basilica
St. Peter’s Basilica is open daily, Summer: Apr-Sep 7:00-19:00; Winter: Oct-Mar 7:00-18:30.
Long waiting lines can be avoided at 7am or at 5pm daily, but the worst time to arrive is between 10:00 – 14:00 when the security line is very long.
How To get to St. Peter’s Basilica
The most convenient and expeditious route to reach St. Peter’s Basilica is by taking Metro Line A. Board the metro and alight at Ottaviano-S. Pietro station, conveniently situated just outside Vatican City.
You can take either bus 40 or 64 that departs from Roma Termini. Bus 40 stops at Traspontina/Conciliazione, about 6 minutes walking distance from St. Peter’s Basilica. Bus 64 stops at Cavalleggeri/S. Pietro, about a 4-minute walk away from St. Peter’s Basilica.
Take Tram 19 from V.Le Regina Margherita/Morgagni. Alight at Piazza del Risorgimento, located just outside the Vatican. A quick 6-minute walk will take you to St. Peter’s Basilica.