St. Peter's Basilica Tickets

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Opening hours

April- September 7am until 7pm

October- March 7am until 6.30pm

On Wednesday mornings when the General Papal Audience is present in St. Peter’s Square, the Basilica is closed. On those occasions it will open at approximately 12.30pm.

Entry into St. Peter’s Basilica is free and it is open every day with a few exceptions (see FAQ’s for details).

How to get there

Subway- using the subway is the recommended route when visiting anywhere in the area around the Vatican City. Take Line A (Linea A), the red line in the direction of Battistini and exit at Ottaviano. Use the S. Pietro exit then walk south on Via Ottaviano.

Bus- there are several bus routes that serve areas close to St. Peter’s Basilica including an express bus number 40 to Termini or a slower more scenic route on number 64.

Walking- the most direct route from the city centre is to walk along Via Conciliazioni. You could try going under the arch close to Castel S. Angelo and then use Pio Borgo and arrive on the opposite side of the Piazza.

FAQ

What are the reasons that St. Peter’s Basilica may be closed?
The Basilica is always closed to visitors during Papal Celebrations and other events such as Royal or Head of State visits. A Papal Mass at the Basilica will also cause a delay in opening or an unexpected early closure.
Is St. Pater’s Basilica wheelchair accessible?
Yes, you can enter from the right or north side of the colonnade. At this point there is a ramped access point. Continue through the security check along the right hand side until you reach the elevators. This will take you to the basilica level.
Is there a dress code and is it enforced?
The dress code required for anyone entering St. Peter’s Basilica is strictly enforced. No shorts, no bare shoulders and no miniskirts. Even if you somehow get through security you will be turned away by the attendants at the door. Even on hot summers day’s people will be turned away for wearing shorts.
Is it possible to join a guided tour?
There are several ways you can take tour, first, you be be wary of people in the vicinity of St. Peter’s offering ‘skip the line’ tours. These are usually overpriced tours that take you into the Vatican museums and bring you into the basilica as you exit their tour. Official ‘skip the line’ tours are available through ‘Vox Mundi’ the official tour service. If you prefer a DIY tour you can print a one-page walking tour complete with the essential information you require. Free tours are available from the Information Desk and the 2 hour and 15 minute tour is only available during school time and not school holidays.
At what times can I hear mass and are there any services in English?
There are no services in English. All services are in Italian or Latin. On weekdays mass is held at 8.30am, 9am, 10am, 11am, noon and at 5pm. On Sunday’s and other holy days mass is held 7 times between 9am and 5.45pm. Visiting priests also hold private masses at side altars from Monday to Saturday at 7.15am and 8pm. You can make a reservation for a private mass.

Must know

Visiting the Cupola
The cupola is open from 8am until 6pm from April until September and until 4.45pm from October until March. Entry costs 8 Euros to use the elevator and 6 Euros when using the stairs. It is worth paying that little bit extra to use the elevator. There is nothing to see on the long walk as you climb the 320 steps. The queue for the cupola can become very long as the tickets are not sold in advance online. Once you reach the roof level you can look down into the basilica, visit the gift shop or restaurant. At this level you can if you wish to climb further up the cupola where you will pass several small windows, once you reach the top you can look across the skyline of the Vatican City and Rome.
Grottoes
The Grottoes are located on the floor below St. Peter’s and it is the burial place of several popes and a few royals. Access is found via stairs close to the statue of St. Andrew near to the papal altar. One of the highlights of this visit is to view the confession, the area in front of St. Peter’s tomb. The bronze urn, The Niche of the Pallium is often mistaken for the place that contains the bones of St. Peter.
Scavi Tour (St. Peter
This tour lasts 90 minutes and takes you into the Excavations of the Necropolis (the City of the Dead), beneath St. Peter’s. It is one of the most interesting tours in Rome but you must book this tour a long time in advance. Groups are limited to 15 people and no children under the age of 11 are permitted on the tour.
Tomb of John Paul II
John Paul II’s tomb was originally located in the grottoes, beneath the Basilica. Before that the space was occupied by John XXIII’s tomb, whose remains were later moved into the Basilica. In 2011, John Paul II was declared blessed and his remains were then moved into the Basilica. His body was placed beneath the Altar of St. Sebastain.

Nearby attractions

Piazza San Pietro (St. Peter
The grand expanse of St. Pater’s Square in front of the basilica was laid out between 1656 and 1667 to provide a gathering place for the world’s faithful. Today it continues to serve that same purpose. Every year on Easter Sunday and on other important occasions in the religious calendar it fills to capacity. It measures 372 metres in length and each end is enclosed by a semi-circle shaped colonnade which together house 140 statues of saints. There are also fountains and an Egyptian obelisk brought to Rome in 39AD. The obelisk weighs 350 tons and was moved to its present site in 1586. The focal point of the square is the central balcony of the Basilica where the Pope delivers his message to the people.
Museo Pio Clementino (The Museums of Pius and Clement)
The museums in the Vatican hold the world’s largest collection of ancient sculpture. Most of it originates from Rome and the surrounding areas and were first organized between 1769-1799 by Popes Clement XIV and Pius VI. The galleries contain so many relics of significance that the list of just the highlights is too long to be mentioned here.
Vatican Gardens
The area now housing the Vatican Gardens was begun in the 13th century for Pope Nicholas II. It was created as a space for peaceful reflection. In the centuries since then, the gardens have been extended to cover nearly half of the city state and rival the finest gardens to be found in Italy. Visitors to the gardens will find several potted plants and rare trees. Tours to the garden must be arranged in advance through the Vatican Museum.