St. Peter's Basilica Guided Tour

2.448 Reviews
from €35.00 EUR
Duration: 3 Hours
 Organized by: City Wonders Ltd.
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Embark on a remarkable journey as you ascend the majestic St. Peter’s Basilica Dome and delve into the enigmatic underground crypts. Experience a comprehensive guided tour that offers unparalleled insights into the Vatican’s illustrious history, architectural wonders, and timeless masterpieces.

The Dome Climb Experience

Your journey begins at St. Peter’s Square, where you will meet your knowledgeable, English-speaking guide. After a brief introduction, you will proceed to the first level of the Dome, ascending by elevator. Here, you will have the opportunity to marvel at the exquisite mosaics, intricate Latin inscriptions, and the pinnacle of Bernini’s magnificent canopy. As you admire the artistry and craftsmanship, your guide will share fascinating insights into the Dome’s history, its artists, and the splendor of the Renaissance era.

Continuing the ascent, climb the 320-step spiral staircase leading to the top of the Dome. As you traverse the double structure, you will catch glimpses of the Vatican rooftops through strategically placed windows. Upon reaching the viewing platform, 448 feet above the Basilica floor, you will be rewarded with a stunning panoramic vista of Rome, including the expansive Vatican Gardens and iconic landmarks such as the Colosseum and the Pantheon. The only point above you will be the cross that houses timbers from the True Cross.

St. Peter's Basilica Guided Tour

St. Peter’s Basilica Guided Tour

St. Peter’s Basilica and Vatican Crypts Exploration

As you descend from the Dome, bypass the queues and gain direct access to St. Peter’s Basilica. Your guide will lead you through the magnificent interior, highlighting the rich collection of statues, chapels, and pilgrimage sites. Learn about the timeless masterpieces and the artistic genius of renowned sculptors and painters.

The final part of your tour will take you to the underground crypts, a hidden world beneath the Basilica. Here, you will discover the tombs of hundreds of popes and members of royalty dating back to the 11th century. Uncover the secrets of these sacred burial sites as your guide brings the stories of the past to life.

Important Information

  • All visitors must pass through airport-style security; wait times during peak season can be up to 30 minutes
  • The Dome elevator takes you to the first terrace; 320 steps must be climbed to reach the top of the Dome
  • This tour is not suitable for those with claustrophobia, vertigo, heart conditions, or other serious medical
Highlights
  • Ascend to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica Dome for a breathtaking panorama of Rome
  • Marvel at the intricate mosaics, Latin inscriptions, and Bernini’s towering canopy
  • Benefit from fast-track access to the Basilica and bypass the lengthy queues
  • Immerse yourself in a guided exploration of the Basilica’s interior and Vatican crypts
  • Discover the resting place of popes and royalty in the underground tombs
What's Included
  • Guided tour in English
  • Access to St. Peter’s Dome, Basilica, and Vatican Crypts
  • Elevator to the first level of the Dome
  • Headsets for clear audio
  • Entry fees
What's not Included
  • Basilica entry ticket (entry to the church is free),
  • Dome (Cupola) entry ticket,
  • Hotel pick-up and drop off.
Cancellation Policy

Free cancellation up to 1 day before tour starts.

Useful Info

The history of the present Basilica begins in 1506, the year in which work was begun on Bramante’s plan, which was substantially adhered to, in spite of many alterations. The site was previously occupied by the great early Christian church of the 4th century, erected by Constantine.

Bramante’s work was soon interrupted, and his plan was to some extent modified in 1547, by that of Michelangelo, of which the apse and the dome now remain (although the dome has been made higher). In 1606 Maderno took over the work, transforming, at the Pope’s order, the ground plan of a Greek cross to that of a Latin cross, and altering the lines of the facade. In 1657, Bernini completed the building with his creation of the majestic Colonnade of St. Peter’s Square.

Piazza San Pietro is surrounded by this vast Colonnade in the form of an ellipse, the two arms of which diverge near the façade, which is thus given a new perspective. In the centre of the square stands an Egyptian Obelisk, taken from Nero’s Circus, crowned with a cross. There are two Fountains, one on either side, one by Maderno, the other by Bernini.

There is a great flight of stairs in front of the Church, and then the facade rises with its powerful architectural development. As seen today, it is the work of Maderno. It consists of an order of columns projecting from the masonry, with a pronounced cornice above, in the centre of which is carved the name of Pope Paul V, who commissioned the work from Maderno, Between the columns are windows, the largest of which, the one in the centre, is the Loggia of the Benedictions. It is here that the Pope appears to impart his blessing “Urbi et Orbi” to the faithful gathered in the square.

Through the entrances along the front one steps into the vestibule, the ancient “endonarthex” of the early Christian basilicas. It too is the work of Maderno, and is decorated with stuccos and mosaics. Among the latter, the one by Giotto, depicting “La Navicella” above the main entrance, is particularly interesting. There is also a fine work by Bernini in the portico: the “Equestrian Statue of the Emperor Constantine”. The two famous doors should also be noted; the Bronze Door on the left, which formed part of the Old St. Peter’s and is divided into sculptured panels, and the Holy Door which is opened only during Holy Years.

One now enters the Church, which is the largest in the world; indeed, the visitor immediately gets the impression of majesty and grandeur, not only owing to its exceptional dimensions, but above all owing to the whole effect of the architectural and decorative elements.

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