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.
At a Glance Why You’ll Love It
| Explore every facet of one of the greatest buildings on Earth as you climb to the top of St.Peter’s Dome, visit treasures like Michelangelo’s Pieta and Bernini’s Baldachin, as well as descend into the holy Papal Crypts below.|
| A passionate Vatican expert will guide you through this magnificent church from top to bottom to point out Rome’s most important sights, explain the centuries-long history of St.Peter’s Basilica, and give you an intro to the Pope’s buried here.|
| This is an intimate experience with tour groups capped at just 12 people or fewer. This means that there won’t be a mass of people between you and your tour guide. It will be easy to interact and satisfy your every curiosity.|
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 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 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.
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 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.
What you’ll See Along the Way
- 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
- 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