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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.


Guide to Exploring St. Peter's Basilica


Top St. Peter's Basilica Flight + Hotel Deals

Top Hotel Deals

See all 12,653 properties near St. Peter's Basilica
Best Western Plus Hotel Spring House £84
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 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.

    VOI Donna Camilla Savelli Hotel £111
    VOI Donna Camilla Savelli Hotel

    VOI Donna Camilla Savelli Hotel

    Via Garibaldi 27, Rome, RM
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      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.

      Hotel 87 Eighty-Seven - Maison D'Art Collection £62
      Hotel 87 Eighty-Seven - Maison D'Art Collection

      Hotel 87 Eighty-Seven - Maison D'Art Collection

      Via del Tritone 87-89, Rome, Rome
         
        4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        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.

        Otivm Hotel £90
        Otivm Hotel

        Otivm Hotel

        Via D'Aracoeli, 11, Rome
           
          4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          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.

          La Maison D'Art Spagna - Maison d'Art Collection £62
          La Maison D'Art Spagna - Maison d'Art Collection

          La Maison D'Art Spagna - Maison d'Art Collection

          Via del Corso 112, Spagna, Rome
             
            3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            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.

            Villa Agrippina Gran Meliá - The Leading Hotels of the World £284
            Villa Agrippina Gran Meliá - The Leading Hotels of the World

            Villa Agrippina Gran Meliá - 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 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.

              St. Peter' Six Rooms & Suites £96
              St. Peter' Six Rooms & Suites

              St. Peter' Six Rooms & Suites

              Via della Conciliazione, 15, Rome, RM
                 
                0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                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.

                NH Collection Roma Giustiniano £116
                NH Collection Roma Giustiniano

                NH Collection Roma Giustiniano

                Via Virgilio 1 E/F/G, 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, 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.