Saint Peters Basilica
Opening hours of the Basilica
Open daily from 7.00AM to 7.00PM April through September
and from 7.00AM to 6.00PM October through March
Piazza San Pietro - 00120 Vatican City
You do not need to but a ticket to enter the Basilica but you'll have to go through security check and dress code check.
When you walk inside Saint Peters Basilica please remember the dress code; knees and shoulders must be covered. Your phones must be switched off and smoking is prohibited. Also, it is respectful to talk with a low voice. I’d like to remind our readers once again; there is nothing to drink or eat in the whole area so bring your water bottles with you! The next place you'll find a cafeteria is on top of the Cupola - after having climbed the 320 steps. When you look at the Basilica standing on St. Peter’s Square, to your right you’ll find a Baggage deposit should you need one. The service is free. By the way, they wouldn’t let you in if you’re carrying around a big bag or trolley. Next to the baggage deposits you can take your audio guide for euro 5.00 or book a tour. Another place you can get information or book a tour is right next to the Basilica entrance. Next to the baggage deposit you’ll also find the bathrooms.
Regarding the tours: There is no fixed time…they’ll do it the Italian way: just wait until they have a good crowd, a minimum of 6 people is required but that shouldn’t be so difficult. The tour is done with an official tour guide.
Cost of the tour is euro 20.00/person for adults and euro 15.00/person for students aged 18-25 and for people over 60. Children aged 7-17 pay euro 10.00/person.
If you’re interested and look at one of the pictures, it will show you the St. Peter’s Basilica weekly and Sundays/Holidays Mass schedule.
Information regarding the Cupola of St. Peter’s Basilica
It’s possible to visit the Cupola after or before visiting the Basilica. Should you do the Basilica first, you’ll get to the Cupola line-up automatically after having passed through the underneath burial chambers of the Popes. If you’re coming from the outside, just go to your right when you’re standing facing the basilica and you should already see the signs. Beware: In some spots, the staircase is so narrow and no room for railings! Italians are well known for their inventiveness so they put a rope that runs down the middle for you to hold on to!
Cost: There are 2 ways to reach the top; either you take the stairs all the way and pay euro 5.00/person or you take the elevator but then walk another 320 stairs to reach the top for euro 7.00/person.
Saint Peters Basilica was designed by Donato Bramante, Carlo Maderno Gian Lorenzo Bernini and of course the most prominent one was the renowned artist and architect, Michelangelo! He was responsible for the Basilica's main design as well as for several other features. St. Peter's is mostly famous as a place of pilgrimage. The Pope presides at a number of services throughout the year. This is the main reason why 15,000 to over 80,000 pilgrims come and visit the Vatican area! The top of the colonnade in St. Peter’s Square contains 140 statues of various saints. They were completed by many artists over a period of 41 years; from 1662 to 1703.
St. Peter is so important for Christian history because he was the new leader for the followers after the crucifixion of Jesus. St Peter was crucified near the ancient Egyptian obelisk in the Circus of Nero – the same obelisk standing in the center of the St Peter’s Square today. A couple of years later, a small shrine was built on his burial site to honor him. Around 300 years later Constantine the first Christian Roman Emperor replaced the shrine by a Basilica!
Visits to the Tomb of Saint Peter and the Necropolis under the Vatican Basilica
Do not mix up the grotto and the scavi . The grotto is underneath the church and can be accessed without a problem. Photography and filming are forbidden. You can access the grotto from inside the Basilica. Whereas the Scavi is something a whole lot different! The 60 minute Scavi Tour is only available by appointment. Make sure you do it early on, even 2 months before visiting! Sometimes the Vatican denies access and there doesn't seem to be a reason to why the Vatican grants some requests and denies others. Should access be denied to you, at least you have some time to try again! Approximately around 250 people a day are conceded into the Scavi, which is where the tomb of St. Peter lies.
Beware: It is very difficult to get tickets to the Scavi Tour because of the large amount of visitors to Rome in the past years it’s getting harder and harder! Also, it can get very hot and humid down in the scavi. You must be at least 15 years old to participate. If you suffer in a closed ambient then this is not the tour for you.
Important: you have to know for sure the exact days (better you write the whole date of the month e.g. 01 June 2014 to 05 June 2014) and times you will be available to visit, even if the times will be determined by the Office. Be sure to include the full names of all people, the language in which you request the tour to be conducted, and the name and phone number of your hotel in Rome. Include your E-mail address, or fax number, or a complete postal address just to be on the safe side.
You can apply for the Scavi Tour in person by visiting the Scavi Office - open weekdays from 9:00AM to 5:00PM - go through the Vatican gate to the south/left of the Entrance to St. Peter's - outside of the Colonnade. Or send a fax to the following number 0039 06 69885518. There is also an email firstname.lastname@example.org where you can send your requests to.
Once you arrive in Rome you can go directly to the Office of the Scavi and ask if your request has been accepted if you didn’t get an e-mail before (check in your swam too). The tour costs euro 10.00 for adults and euro 5.00 for children. You can pay when you get your tickets!
If you'd like to organize your own private Mass
Should you have your own priest and would like to schedule a special mass at the Clementine Chapel near Saint Peter's tomb, please contact Dottore Antonio Grimaldi for further information Telephone: 0039 06 69881496 Fax: 0039 06 69885518