Home >  Tours  > Vatican Tours  > St. Peter's Basilica Tour

St. Peter's Basilica Tour

  • Group Size:
    Group Size: Max 12
  • Language:
    Language: English
  • Duration:
    Duration: 2.5 hrs
  • Start:
    Start: 8:15 AM
  • Price:
    Price: From 78 €
  • Cancelation:
    Cancellation: Free Cancellation*

Tour Overview

Fascinating, inspired, and inspiring, few things compare to St. Peter’s Basilica. No stay in Rome can go without stepping inside its massive walls. This comprehensive St. Peter’s Basilica tour takes you there with skip the line entry, showing you everything from top to bottom, including the awe-inspiring view from the top of the dome, its hidden treasures, Papal tombs, and embrace of its world-famous piazza.

Tour Highlights

  • St. Peter’s Square
  • View from St. Peter’s Dome
  • Inside St. Peter’s Basilica
  • Michelangelo’s Pietà
  • Statue of St. Peter
  • Bernini’s Bronze Baldachin
  • Papal Tombs
  • Roman Forum

What's included

  • Skip-the-line access
  • Expert English-speaking guide
  • Small groups of 12 or fewer
  • All tickets and reservations
  • Climb the Dome with your guide
  • Headsets to hear the guide clearly

What you’ll See Along the Way

St. Peter's Square

St. Peter’s Square in is one of the most famous (and certainly one of the most holy!) sights in the world. It was designed in the 17th century by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, who was known as the most accomplished architect in Rome at the time. Pope Alexander VIII, who commissioned the piazza, asked Bernini to emphasize St. Peter’s importance as “the gateway to Heaven” and the architect implemented the request beautifully. He divided the square into a smaller trapezoidal area adjoining the Basilica and an oval main part, which together create a ground plan in the shape of a giant keyhole.

View from St. Peter's Dome

The view from the top of St. Peter's Dome is hailed far and wide as the best panorama of Rome. From these heights you will also be able to gaze over the whole of Vatican City, with its splendid gardens. This is 360° of pure magic as the Eternal City stretches to the hills beyond, and your guide will help you spot many a famous roof and dome, from the Pantheon, to Castel Sant'Angelo and more.

Inside St. Peter's Basilica

If you thought the size of the Vatican Museums was overwhelmingly spectacular, St. Peter’s Basilica takes the “wow factor” to another level. The sheer capacity of the interiors is enough to leave any visitor searching for words to describe its vastness. At 613 feet long, 85 feet wide and 147 feet high, it took an incredible 120 years to build, starting from 1506. Admire Michelangelo’s unparalleled Pietà masterpiece and stroll towards the center right nave to observe Bernini’s bronze Baldachin, which sits directly atop the site of St. Peter’s tomb.

Michelangelo's Pietà

Michelangelo was only 23 years old when French Cardinal Jean de Bilhères commissioned him to carve "the most beautiful works in marble that Rome has ever seen". While the bar was set high, Michelangelo surprised everyone when the masterpiece was unveiled – none of the onlookers could comprehend how such a young sculptor was able to create something as flawless as the Pietà. Sadly, the perfection was temporarily spoilt in 1972, when a vandal attacked the sculpture with a hammer and damaged it severely. The masterpiece was quickly repaired, but visitors now have to admire it from behind bullet-proof glass.

Statue of St. Peter

There are untold myths about the bronze statue of St. Peter inside the basilica, many of which surround its origin. Some believe it is actually a repurposed rendering of Jupiter taken from his ancient temple on the capitoline Hill, others consider it a late Medieval creation to celebrate the defeat of Attila the Hun. Follow in the steps of millions of pilgrims and give a rub to his left foot. As you'll notice it has been molded smooth over the centuries.

Bernini's Bronze Baldachin

Directly above the pope’s altar sits a huge bronze canopy, which was designed by Gian Lorenzo Bernini in the early 1600s. The Renaissance wunderkind was commissioned the prestigious task at the tender age of 25 and it was his first artistic contribution to the Basilica, where he would continue to work for the rest of his life. Bernini’s patron, Pope Urban VIII, became infamous amongst the Romans when he allowed the artist to melt the bronze beams of the Pantheon’s portico to complete the construction. In total, 120 tons of metal were required to make the baldachin, which stands at a whopping 95 feet.

Papal Tombs

Known by a number of names, Vatican Crypts, Vatican Grottoes, or the catchy 'Vatacombs', this is the enormous underground cemetery below St. Peter's that houses the hallowed tombs of various popes, martyrs, kings and other faithful that the central church in Catholicism has collected over its millennia of history. You can even see a few columns of the orginal St. Peter's Basilica built by Emperor Constantine in the 4th century A.D.

Tour Summary Get in the Know

A Unique Perspective on St. Peter’s Basilica

St. Peter’s basilica is one of the most fascinating structures ever built by human hands. Its imposing dome alone inspires a sense of wonder. Let your expectations be surpassed as you discover the world’s most spectacular church to marvel at its treasures after taking in the view from the top of its cupola.

Our St. Peter’s Basilica Tour begins in the heart of Piazza San Pietro, where people gather in the thousands each week to see Pope Francis for the Papal Audience and the Angelus prayer. With its 284 Doric columns, two fountains, 4,000-year-old Egyptian obelisk, and optical illusions to boot, it is one of the most significant architectural creations of the ingenious Gianlorenzo Bernini.

See Rome from the Top of Michelangelo’s Dome

Now that you’ve taken in St. Peter’s Square and the church’s massive Baroque facade, it’s time to head inside to get up close and personal with its secrets. As its monolithic marble and sculpted travertine envelope you, it is important to make a few things clear. The capital of Christendom is the result of generations of hard work. It took over 120 years to complete, spanning the lives of 20 popes (Julius II – Urban VIII), and involved some of the greatest creative geniuses the West has ever known: Michelangelo, Bramante, Maderno, and Bernini to name but a few.

The first stop is the former’s contribution, as you climb to the top of Michelangelo’s nearly 450-foot dome to take a peek at the inside of St. Peter’s from above, a lasting first impression, and then the most glorious view of Rome from the outside. The Dome of St. Peter’s is by law and Papal decree the tallest edifice in the Eternal City so there is no beating this vantage point.

Uncover Myriad Treasures Inside St. Peter’s

If you thought St. Peter’s Basilica was spectacular from the outside, wait until you get inside. The dimensions are literally staggering, as are the artistic masterpieces it contains. The first stop is Michelangelo’s Pietà, which amazingly enough the illuminating Florentine sculptor finished at the age of 24. It is also the only work that the budding master ever signed. Following this, your guide will take you to visit the shrine where John Paul II has been interred, and then down the central nave to Bernini’s bronze Baldachin, the Pope’s 66-foot private altar that sits directly above the tomb of St. Peter himself, and yes it has recently been scientifically and historically proven to be true.

You may not be able to visit St. Peter’s burial site, but this tour does include access to the Papal crypts below St. Peter’s where you will be able to visit the final resting place of 91 pontiffs, as well as see what remains of the original basilica that Emperor Constantine built in the 4th century A.D.

if you have any questions about the trips, see our FAQ. LEARN MORE

Ultimate St. Peter’s Basilica Tour

What our Customers say...

Amazing Views from St.Peter's Dome!

Elaine was an incredible guide! Knowledgeable, witty, with lots of wonderful esoteric information one would never get to know without her expertise! The Basilica of St.Peter's is amazing, the views were great.”

Engaging & Informative!

Matteo was fabulous! Informative, engaging & moved us quickly ahead of large groups. Would highly recommend him and this tour!”

Excellent professional tour

We scheduled the St. Peter church climbing tour & met with tour guide Matteo. Our family is the only group that morning & glad they did not cancel the tour so we have up close and personal experience with Matteo. He is very knowledgeable and humor. We heard lots of fun facts and stories. Highly recommended this tour.”

Wonderful morning!

I wanted to send a thank you and a recommendation regarding our visit of St Peters Basilica with Mateo on Saturday morning. We had a wonderful time, we learned an amazing amount of information and found that Mateo was passionate and knowledgeable about his topic. It was a wonderful morning!”

More of Our Amazing Rome Tours…