Planning to visit St Peters Basilica Rome? Find out the best way to visit this amazing church!
Visiting the Vatican is usually at the top of everyone's list when they visit Rome, especially for first-time visitors.
Here's everything you need to know so you can make the most out of your visit to this spectacular church:
Want to take a virtual visit of St Peters Basilica? You can, on the Vatican website!
It is free to visit St Peters basilica Rome. However, you have to go through security (like at the airport), and even with many lanes open, this still takes time, resulting in long lines, most of the day and throughout the year. It's no longer the case that you can just show up and go straight in to the basilica.
There are, however, 3 ways to avoid the queues.
The basilica is pretty crowded and full of visitors year-round. Even in low season (winter), you will find the basilica crowded, and with long queues to get in. This is one of the highlights of a visit to Rome, so there is often a line.
The Pope holds mass in St Peter's basilica on special occasions, such as during Christmas and Easter. Normally when you visit St. Peter's basilica, you will not find the Pope there. In fact, if the pope is holding a mass, the basilica will be closed for visits.
To find out the Pope's schedule, visit the Vatican website, and click on the calendar.
There are many ways you CAN see the Pope in Rome, not just at St. Peter's Basilica. These include the Papal Audience, as well as liturgical masses and other events. Visit my page about how to see the Pope in Rome for more details.
There is no place to eat INSIDE of St Peters Basilica Rome. There are cafeterias inside the Vatican Museums, but that is a completely separate building and visit.
There are a lot of very touristy places right around the basilica. For someplace more authentic, walk just a bit farther away. Click here Where to Eat Near the Vatican for suggestions and a map!
When you take a tour of the Vatican Museums, a tour of St. Peter's Basilica is usually included at the end (but not always.)
If you want to make sure that you get a tour of the basilica when you book your Vatican Museums tour, make sure it's included.
If you just want to visit St Peters Basilica Rome and not the museums, and you'd like a tour, you can get an audio-guide, or book a tour. When you book a tour, you will get skip-the-line access, which is a huge plus!
St Peters Basilica is open 365 days a year (with occasional exceptions.)
From October 1 - March 31 the hours are from 7am - 6:30pm.
From April 1 - September 30, the hours are from 7am - 7pm.
Keep in mind, these closing hours means they lock the doors then. This means you will have to be out by at least 15 minutes before that.
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