St. Peter’s Basilica
Visible from most of the city, St. Peter’s Basilica is a must-visit on your trip to Rome. Arriving at the square from Via Della Conciliazione, you’ll see St. Peter’s Basilica right in front of you. Go through the security gates, arriving early in the morning to avoid the queues, before taking pictures of the landmark, including the famous balcony used by the Pope to address the public.
Walk up the steps to the entrance of the Basilica, and prepare to enter a building unlike any other in the world. Inside you’ll see artwork by Michelangelo, including his masterpiece Pietà, and the breathtakingly ornate dome on the ceiling above.
During your visit, see artefacts at St. Peter’s Treasury, admire Bernini’s 29 metre masterpiece above the altar, and look out for a red disk on the floor, marking the place where Roman Emperors were once crowned by the Pope.
To go up the famous dome, you’ll need to tackle 551 steps or take a lift partway up to save some energy. It’s a challenging climb, but well worth it, as from the top you’ll enjoy 360 degree views of the whole city. Before leaving the Basilica, explore the Vatican Grottoes beneath the building, where you’ll find the tombs of popes including John Paul II.
If the Pope is in residence, visit St. Peter’s Square at midnight to see him bless the audience. You can also buy tickets for an audience with Pope Francis each Wednesday.
To find out more about the history of this historic building, take the guided tour or hire an audio guide as you browse. It’s worth bearing in mind there’s a strict dress code when visiting, with no bare legs or shoulders allowed.