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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.
Located in the centre of Rome, this family-friendly hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Vatican Museums and Vatican Gardens. St. Peter's Square and Via Cola di Rienzo are also within 15 minutes. Cipro Station is 6 minutes by foot and Ottaviano - San Pietro - Musei Vaticani Station is 8 minutes.
Located in Trastevere, this romantic hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Santa Maria in Trastevere, Campo de' Fiori and Corso Vittorio Emanuele II. Piazza Navona and Pantheon are also within 1 mile (2 km). Rome Quattro Venti Station is 22 minutes by foot and Rome San Pietro Station is 23 minutes.
This family-friendly Rome hotel is located in the historical district, steps away from Via del Tritone, Via Veneto and Piazza Barberini. Piazza di Spagna and Trevi Fountain are also within 10 minutes. Barberini Station is only a 3-minute walk and Spagna Station is 7 minutes.
Located in Navona, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Piazza Venezia, Via del Corso and Roman Forum. National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II and Capitoline Museum are also within 5 minutes. Colosseo Station is 14 minutes by foot and Cavour Station is 15 minutes.
Located in Rome City Centre, this hotel is steps away from Via del Tritone, Via del Corso and Via Condotti. Trevi Fountain and Piazza di Spagna are also within 10 minutes. Spagna Station is 9 minutes by foot and Barberini Station is 10 minutes.
This family-friendly Rome hotel is located on the riverwalk, within a 10-minute walk of St. Peter's Square and Castel Sant'Angelo. Villa Farnesina and Piazza Navona are also within 15 minutes. Rome San Pietro Station is 12 minutes by foot and Ottaviano - San Pietro - Musei Vaticani Station is 18 minutes.
Located in Vatican, this bed & breakfast is within a 10-minute walk of Castel Sant'Angelo, St. Peter's Square and Sistine Chapel. Vatican Museums and Vatican Gardens are also within 1 mi (2 km). Ottaviano - San Pietro - Musei Vaticani Station is 14 minutes by foot and Rome San Pietro Station is 14 minutes.
Located in Vatican, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Via Cola di Rienzo, Chiesa Valdese and Auditorium Conciliazione. Castel Sant'Angelo is 0.5 mi (0.8 km) away. Lepanto Station is 11 minutes by foot and Ottaviano - San Pietro - Musei Vaticani Station is 11 minutes.