Vatican Guide: St Peters Basilica

Are you going on holiday to Rome in Italy? Do you want to visit St Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican? Our guide to St Peter’s Basilica gives you the facts & information you’ll want to know.

St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican is believed to be the site where the first century Christian Saint Peter is buried. St Peter came to Rome as a Christian missionary where he had some success before dieing. Three hundred years later, Christianity became the official religion of Italy and the site grew in importance. Ever since, St Peter’s Basilica has been a place of importance to Catholics and is visited by hundreds of thousands of tourists every year. St Peter’s Basilica has a capacity of 60,000 people and its highlights include magnificent renaissance art and architecture, the pinnacle of which is the Dome of St Peter’s Basilica.

Origins of St Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican

St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican dates back to the 4th Century when it was ordered to be built by the Constantine, the first Holy Emperor of Rome. However, it took several centuries for the Basilica to be formed in the mould we see it today as it suffered from dilapidation at times throughout its history.

Admission to St Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican

Admission costs to St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican vary according to exactly where in the Basilica you want to go. The general halls and grounds of St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican are open to the public and entry is free. If, however, you wish to go up the dome of St Peter’s Basilica then there is a charge. Standard admission to ascend to the dome of St Peter’s Basilica costs 7 Euros and involves a long walk up the stairs which is only recommended if you are of a reasonable level of fitness. Alternatively, there is an elevator in operation which takes you up the dome of St Peter’s Basilica and cots 14 Euros; however, even this only takes you half way up the dome of the basilica and you have to walk the rest of the way.

Opening Times at St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican

Like other attractions in the Vatican such as the Sistine chapel, opening times at St Peter’s Basilica are quite irregular and seem to vary according to season and fluctuating demand. Generally, opening times for St Peter’s Basilica in the summer months are from about 7am until 7pm. These opening hours at St Peter’s Basilica tend to shorten with the days during the winter.

Dress Code for St Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican

It is important to remember to dress properly if you want to gain admission to St Peter’s Basilica in the Vatican. Although there is no strict dress code, remember that modesty is the key. You don’t have to dress up for the occasion but do make sure that you aren’t wearing a mini skirt or shorts, and that your shoulders are covered. Failure to observe these basic dress guidelines will invariably result in you being refused entrance into St Peter’s Basilica as there are always guards at the door who enforce this.

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