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St. Peter's Basilica (Basilica di San Pietro )

Experience this high-domed church at the heart of Catholicism and its magnificent gallery at the heart of the art world.

The lofty dome of St. Peter’s Basilica is the great towering symbol of the minuscule Vatican state and a towering artistic statement of the Late Renaissance and Baroque periods.

The history of this site incorporates a great deal of Christian mythology. The story goes that, after the crucifixion of Jesus, one of his 12 disciples, Peter from Galilee, embarked on a long trek to Rome where he was martyred by Emperor Nero. The location where he died, close to the Egyptian obelisk in the Circus (which still stands today), was initially marked by a red rock, and then by a shrine, followed by the first (Old) St. Peter’s Basilica in 360. This wooden structure stood for more than a millennium until it fell into disrepair in the 15th century. In 1506, Pope Julius II broke ground on the basilica and a series of Renaissance masters began an immense century-long construction project.

Officially opened on November 18, 1626, the last 400 years have seen St. Peter’s Basilica become one of the most sacred sites of Catholicism and one of the world’s top tourist attractions. The beautiful exterior is a cross-generational collaboration between Bramante, Raphael and Michelangelo, and includes an enormous nave and the high, iconic dome. It’s what stands inside, however, that really impresses.

Once inside, you’ll find frescoes and mosaics by the likes of Bernini and Giotto and a host of other treasures. Michelangelo’s Pietà and Arnolfo di Cambio’s Saint Peter sculptures, Vico Consorti’s Holy Door and Bernini’s famous altar are in good company with the treasures buried below the ground, such as the beautiful tombs of significant Vatican figures, from St. Peter to Pope John Paul II. Whether you’re a Catholic, an art aficionado or just a lover of beauty, St. Peter’s Basilica is a must-see.

The basilica is in central Rome and is open daily, although opening times vary according to the season. If you are planning to visit the Vatican Museums at the same time, be aware it is closed on Sundays with the exception of the last Sunday of the month. 


You can walk to the basilica from the city center; the most direct route is to cross the Tiber and walk straight up Via della Conciliazione. The Metro train station Ottaviano is a short walk away along Via Ottaviano.

There's no place anywhere exactly like St. Peter's Basilica. To make the most of your time here, we've put together a list of the top things to do:

If you're seeking more activities, check out our Rome things to do page.


Guide to Exploring around St. Peter's Basilica


Map

Best Lodging Options Near St. Peter's Basilica

See all 11,714 Properties near St. Peter's Basilica
Best Western Plus Hotel Spring House NT$3,718
Best Western Plus Hotel Spring House

Best Western Plus Hotel Spring House

Via Mocenigo 7, Rome, RM
     
    4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in the center of Rome, this family-friendly hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Vatican Museums and Vatican Gardens. St. Peter's Square and Monte Mario are also within 15 minutes. Cipro Station is 6 minutes by foot and Ottaviano - San Pietro - Musei Vaticani Station is 8 minutes.

    Hotel Quirinale NT$3,198
    Hotel Quirinale

    Hotel Quirinale

    Via Nazionale 7, Rome, RM
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in Repubblica, this family-friendly Rome hotel is steps from Teatro dell'Opera di Roma, Via Nazionale, and Via XX Settembre. Via Veneto and Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore are also within 10 minutes. Repubblica - Opera House Station is only a 2-minute walk and Barberini Station is 8 minutes.

      Starhotels Michelangelo NT$4,350
      Starhotels Michelangelo

      Starhotels Michelangelo

      Via Della Stazione Di San Pietro 14, Rome, RM
         
        4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Vatican, this family-friendly Rome hotel is within a 10-minute walk of St. Peter's Square, St. Peter's Basilica, and Sistine Chapel. Castel Sant'Angelo and Vatican Museums are also within 1 mi (2 km). Rome S. Pietro Station and Rome San Pietro Station are within a 5-minute walk.

        San Pietro Boutique Rooms NT$3,200
        San Pietro Boutique Rooms

        San Pietro Boutique Rooms

        Via Properzio, 32, Rome, RM
           
          0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Vatican, this townhouse accommodation is within a 10-minute walk of Via Cola di Rienzo, Castel Sant'Angelo, and St. Peter's Square. St. Peter's Basilica and Sistine Chapel are also within 15 minutes. Ottaviano - San Pietro - Musei Vaticani Station is 8 minutes by foot and Lepanto Station is 15 minutes.

          Grand Hotel Olympic NT$1,355
          Grand Hotel Olympic

          Grand Hotel Olympic

          Via Properzio 2/a, Rome, RM
             
            4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in Vatican, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Via Cola di Rienzo and Castel Sant'Angelo. St. Peter's Square and Vatican Museums are also within 15 minutes. Ottaviano - San Pietro - Musei Vaticani Station is 7 minutes by foot and Lepanto Station is 13 minutes.

            Gran Meliá Rome Villa Agrippina -The Leading Hotels of the World NT$8,520
            Gran Meliá Rome Villa Agrippina -The Leading Hotels of the World

            Gran Meliá Rome Villa Agrippina -The Leading Hotels of the World

            Via del Gianicolo 3, Rome, RM
               
              5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              This family-friendly Rome hotel is located on the riverwalk, within a 10-minute walk of Passeggiata del Gianicolo and Castel Sant'Angelo. Villa Farnesina and St. Peter's Square are also within 15 minutes. Ottaviano - San Pietro - Musei Vaticani Station is 19 minutes by foot and Rome S. Pietro Station is 15 minutes.

              Residenza Paolo VI NT$3,713
              Residenza Paolo VI

              Residenza Paolo VI

              Via Paolo VI, 29, Rome, RM
                 
                0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Vatican, this property is steps from St. Peter's Square, Paul VI Audience Hall, and St. Peter's Basilica. Sistine Chapel and Apostolic Palace (Palace of the Vatican) are also within 10 minutes. Rome S. Pietro Station is 9 minutes by foot and Rome San Pietro Station is 9 minutes.

                Fragrance Hotel St. Peter NT$1,884
                Fragrance Hotel St. Peter

                Fragrance Hotel St. Peter

                Via Monte del Gallo, 36, Rome, RM
                   
                  3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Vatican, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of St. Peter's Square and St. Peter's Basilica. Sistine Chapel and Castel Sant'Angelo are also within 1 mi (2 km). Rome S. Pietro Station is 5 minutes by foot and Rome San Pietro Station is 5 minutes.