St. Peter's Basilica

Vacation Travel Guide
St. Peter\'s Basilica featuring a church or cathedral, a square or plaza and a city

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.

Top things to do in St. Peter's Basilica

Top Hotels Close to St. Peter's Basilica

Grand Hotel Olympic
Grand Hotel Olympic
4 out of 5
Via Properzio 2/a, Rome, RM
The price is $64 per night from Oct 25 to Oct 25
Located in Rome Historic Centre, this hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Auditorium Conciliazione and Sistine Chapel. Via Condotti and Monte Mario are also ...
3.6/5Good! (1,141 reviews)
設備は三つ星相当だがスタッフは良い
"部屋の設備は簡素で机などもなく少し不便な面もあったが三つ星相当だがスタッフは非常に親切だった。"

Reviewed on Sep 30, 2020

Grand Hotel Olympic
Best Western Plus Hotel Universo
Best Western Plus Hotel Universo
4 out of 5
Via Principe Amedeo 5/B, Rome, RM
The price is $111 per night from Oct 10 to Oct 10
Located in Rome Historic Centre, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Baths of Diocletian, Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore, and Palace of Expositions. Repubblica ...
4.4/5Excellent! (971 reviews)
"Monica (breakfast host) was really, really good and friendly!!! Very professional as well!"

Reviewed on Sep 23, 2021

Best Western Plus Hotel Universo
Rome Cavalieri, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel
Rome Cavalieri, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel
5 out of 5
Via Alberto Cadlolo 101, Rome, RM
The price is $272 per night from Oct 5 to Oct 5
This family-friendly Rome hotel is located in the suburbs, within 1 mi (2 km) of Monte Mario and Piazzale Clodio. AURA Shopping Mall and Via Cola di Rienzo are ...
4.6/5Wonderful! (976 reviews)
"Loved our stay! Wish we could have stayed longer."

Reviewed on Sep 22, 2021

Rome Cavalieri, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.

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Best Lodging Options Near St. Peter's Basilica

Grand Hotel Olympic
Grand Hotel Olympic
4 out of 5
Via Properzio 2/a, Rome, RM
The price is $64 per night from Oct 25 to Oct 25
Grand Hotel Olympic
Best Western Plus Hotel Universo
Best Western Plus Hotel Universo
4 out of 5
Via Principe Amedeo 5/B, Rome, RM
The price is $111 per night from Oct 10 to Oct 10
Best Western Plus Hotel Universo
Rome Cavalieri, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel
Rome Cavalieri, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel
5 out of 5
Via Alberto Cadlolo 101, Rome, RM
The price is $272 per night from Oct 5 to Oct 5
Rome Cavalieri, A Waldorf Astoria Hotel
Villa Agrippina Gran Meliá - The Leading Hotels of the World
Villa Agrippina Gran Meliá - The Leading Hotels of the World
5 out of 5
Via del Gianicolo 3, Rome, RM
The price is $485 per night from Oct 20 to Oct 20
Villa Agrippina Gran Meliá - The Leading Hotels of the World
San Pietro Boutique Rooms
San Pietro Boutique Rooms
Via Properzio, 32, Rome, RM
The price is $132 per night from Sep 29 to Sep 29
San Pietro Boutique Rooms
Albergo Del Senato
Albergo Del Senato
3 out of 5
Piazza Della Rotonda 73, Rome, RM
The price is $281 per night from Oct 4 to Oct 4
Albergo Del Senato
Hotel della Conciliazione
Hotel della Conciliazione
4 out of 5
Borgo Pio n. 163-164-165-166, Rome, RM
The price is $155 per night from Oct 3 to Oct 3
Hotel della Conciliazione
Starhotels Michelangelo
Starhotels Michelangelo
4 out of 5
Via Della Stazione Di San Pietro 14, Rome, RM
The price is $126 per night from Oct 3 to Oct 3
Starhotels Michelangelo
Residenza Paolo VI
Residenza Paolo VI
Via Paolo VI, 29, Rome, RM
The price is $188 per night from Oct 24 to Oct 24
Residenza Paolo VI
Lowest nightly price found within the past 24 hours based on a 1 night stay for 2 adults. Prices and availability subject to change. Additional terms may apply.