St. Peter's Basilica Tour

Explore the Basilica, Climb the Dome (optional), visit the Crypt
Pick-up & Transportation Included!
Kids pay half price!

Duration

about 3 hours

Tickets

Pick up at your hotel

Private Transportation

Professional Guides

Activity level

medium/high

Sights Included

St. Peter's Basilica
– Pietà by Michelangelo
– Canopy by Bernini
– St. Peter’s Square
St. Peter's Dome
– Breathtaking views
– Unique architecture
– Beautiful decoration
St. Peter's Crypt
– Tomb of St. Peter
– Tombs of the Popes
– Remains of Constantine Basilica

Tour Description

St. Peter’s Basilica is the most important Catholic Church in the world. It’s also the biggest, and by far the most ornate.

Our St. Peter’s Basilica Tour will show you this unique sight from the top of the Dome to the underground Crypt. You’ll get to enjoy the full experience of the most impressive building in the Vatican. 

1. St. Peter's Square

Discover the roots of Christianity with us. 

Our St. Peter’s Basilica Tour is a journey through art, architecture, and religion. 

You may be wondering…

Why is Rome the capital of Catholicism? Why is St. Peter’s the most important church in the world? 

We will guide you through a discovery of early Christian history. You’ll find out how Christianity first arrived in Rome and conquered the city, becoming the most popular religion in the world. 

The first stop of our St. Peter’s Basilica tour will be the Square, a gorgeous piazza designed by the greatest Italian artist of the 17th century, Gian Lorenzo Bernini. Your private tour guide will provide a full explanation of this awe-inspiring place, and share the dramatic story of St. Peter, the first Pope. 

After the death of Christ, St. Peter came to Rome and founded the local Christian community. Then, in the year 64 AD, Rome was almost completely destroyed by a terrible fire. The emperor Nero needed somebody to blame – he chose the Christians. 

The leader of their community, St. Peter, was captured and crucified upside down in a stadium used for chariot races and executions, located on the slopes of the Vatican hill. This site is now the location of St Peter’s Square.

St. Peter was buried in a nearby cemetery. His tomb became a major pilgrimage site in the very early years of Christianity. Even though the Romans kept persecuting the Christians, their numbers continued to grow.

Everything changed in 313 AD, when the emperor Constantine – probably a Christian himself – legalized Christianity and gave his full support to the Christian community. He also decided to build a gigantic church right on top of the tomb of St. Peter.

And that’s how St. Peter’s Basilica came to be built.

But the building you see nowadays is not the original church; in the early 16th century Pope Julius II decided to build an even bigger basilica. He hired the best architects in Italy to design and construct it. 

After 120 years, in 1626, the new Basilica was consecrated and opened to the public. 

Many of the greatest artists of the time (and of all time!) contributed to the building: Bramante, Raphael, Bernini, Borromini, and, of course, Michelangelo, who designed the most impressive part of the building, the Dome. 

2. The Basilica, the Dome & the Crypt

Your expert tour guide will take you to the top of this fantastic structure – still the tallest in Rome – and show you the city from its highest and most impressive viewpoint.

You will take the elevator to skip the first 200 steps and reach the terrace. Afterwards, you can keep climbing to the very top of the Dome (350 more steps) or just enjoy the incredible view from the terrace.

You’ll have the chance to take a closer look at the shiny mosaics that depict Jesus, the Apostles, the Virgin Mary and the Evangelists. Here you’ll also be able to see the marble floor of the Basilica from an elevated position, so you can admire the geometrical perfection of its design. 

Then, it will be time to go down and explore St. Peter’s Basilica in depth. Golden mosaics, colorful marbles and priceless artworks make this church a truly unique place, designed to dazzle visitors.

You will see the Pietà, the most moving sculpture by Michelangelo, which he carved when he was in his early 20s. 

Interestingly, it’s the only artwork that Michelangelo signed. According to legend, he had to sign it because nobody believed that a masterpiece like this could be created by such a young artist. 

Where did Michelangelo put his signature? Look a little closer, and you’ll find out!

In the chapel close to the Pietà you will find the tomb of Pope John Paul II, recently canonized and buried in a prominent position.

Nearby you’ll also see Bernini’s canopy. This massive, elegant structure was built with the bronze from the Pantheon, and covers the main altar. The altar has a splendid gilded frame, and is illuminated by the huge alabaster window behind.

You may feel overwhelmed by the richness of the decoration, and by the details that decorate every inch of this amazing building, but don’t worry! Our tour guide will be there to explain everything, and tell you the fascinating story of this unique building. 

Finally, you’ll go underground, in the crypt, to see the tomb of St. Peter – the “root” of the Basilica – and the tombs of other important popes from the past. 

There’s also the option to combine our St. Peter’s Basilica tour with a visit to the Vatican Museum and the Sistine Chapel, so you can enjoy a full day in this unforgettable place.

IMPORTANT INFO!

You MUST bring an ID, a passport or a driver’s license to enter the sights.

Your knees and shoulders must be covered to enter the Vatican .

In order to reach the top of St. Peter’s Dome, you need to climb about 330 steps in a narrow corridor. If you decide not to reach the top, you can comfortably take an elevator ad stop halfway.

Book now!

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Pricing
339 € for 1 person
49 € per additional adult
24 € per additional kid under 18
What's included
Skip-the-line tickets
Transportation

by car or cab to St. Peter's

Pick-up at your hotel

if in Rome city center

Contact us if you want more info or to design a tailored tour!
Send us a message using the form below, contact us via whatsapp icon Whatsapp, or call us at +39 376 165 1457

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    Michelle
    Michelle
    Above & Beyond
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    We were amazed by the service we received in Rome and even in Benevento. Giovanni went above and beyond to organize tours and transportation for our family of 15 traveling. Massimo was an incredible and knowledgeable tour guide in Rome. He made it fun for the kids and knew when to take a break. Provided water and an amazing lunch spot for us all. We still are talking about some of the stories he told us. Stefano met us at the train in Benevento and was only supposed to drive us through San Bartolomeo, my father's hometown. But he pulled up my father's and grandfather's genealogy and found some interesting facts that were amazing to find out. He printed and laminated it for us to take. It was an emotional day but such a wonderful part of the trip. The minibus was perfect for everyone to fit comfortably and head over to Almafi. Thank you Giovanni and your amazing staff for making this trip one of the most memorable trips ever!!!
    Rosa
    Rosa
    Exceptional!
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    Giovanni was so exceptional at his job that you left the trip feeling torn between wanting to tell the World and also keeping him a best kept secret. Everything that he had orchestrated happened, seamlessly for us as if he had choreographed the entire country of Italy to show up, act, behave on queue. I put together a lot of trips, all over the world, for a group of around 20 friends each adventure. As the chief coordinator, you are always a little concerned about third party tours and tour guides: will everyone show up, is this a scam, can they speak English? Giovanni had infinite patience answering my questions and provided so much detail about our adventure, that everyone knew what to expect ahead of time. He took into consideration everyone’s interest, abilities and aptitudes. We saw a side of Italy that felt intimate and entertaining. There are not enough stars in the galaxy to award him.
    Kara
    Kara
    Great Experience!
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    What a great experience for me and my family to have these private tours planned by Giovanni. We wanted a curated set of events during our time in Rome and Florence and Gio delivered such a wonderful set of activities to suit my husband and I and our two teenagers. Each of the four days was a memorable experience. Alex was so fantastic and I would recommend him highly- we had one our best meals with him just learning from him and having great conversation. Andres in Florence was a blast and incredibly connected to the history of the area, just a wealth of information so much so that we are definitely coming back to Florence to spend more time. Caterina walked us through the Roman ruins and the Colosseum which was awe inspiring. And, one of the best things we did which I highly recommend is a pasta making class with Romina. We learned to make two dishes with her and then ate the food we had prepared. Such a great way to spend our time connecting to Roma. Thank you Gio and to all our guides! We will cherish our memories made together.
    Brian
    Brian
    Thank you!
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    Giovanni-thank you for a wonderful itinerary of guided visits to all the sights in Rome! We so appreciated the communication and detailed planning that ensured our visits to the Vatican/St. Peter's, Colosseum, Hadrian's Villa and Florence came off without a hitch.
    Your guides are so friendly and knowledgeable. They made the history accessible and enriching.
    You covered every detail, down to lunch reservations, business class train tickets and wonderful air-conditioned transportation with friendly drivers!
    Thank you again for all the e-mails to develop a personalized itinerary for a special trip! We give you 5 1/2 stars on a 5 star scale!
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    Bonnie
    Highly recommended!
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    I highly recommend Italian ArtVentures. We decided to use a private tour company, rather than the cruise ship excursions, and we were not disappointed. Giovanni was excellent at planning. We booked a tour in Rome and Pompeii. Giovanni was able to customize a tour that was special to us, so we could visit the LDS temple. Maria was our guide at the Vatican. She was fun, smart, and thoughtful. She translated for us as needed and was able to answer all of our questions. One major bonus of having a tour guide is skipping the line for St. Peter's Basilica. Our driver was awesome, traveling quickly and safely. The van was new, clean, and comfortable. We asked for a restaurant recommendation, and Giovanni made us reservations for Amalfi. It was incredible. The next day, we went to Pompeii with Stefano. He was fantastic. He made sure we saw the highlights and we avoided the crowds because of his expertise in the area. Booking was simple, communication was excellent, the cost was well worth what you get. This company is very professional. Totally awesome experience!
    Kevin
    Kevin
    Perfect Tour
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    Truly outstanding experience visiting the Vatican with Maria! She was the perfect guide - knowledgable, smart, funny, passionate about the subject matter. She had a deep knowledge of the art, architecture, history, and the religious significance of the whole area, and gave us thoughtful, interesting commentary throughout our tour. Although she seemed to have a bottomless knowledge of everything, she also knew how to present the information in a way that was considered, insightful, and crucially, not too overwhelming for us. As we walked, she called attention to many things, some big, others details that could easily be missed. She was well prepared, but also brilliant at answering questions and flexible about following our interests. Several times she pointed out a small detail, then drew a connection back to it later in the tour. She knew the Vatican, Sistine Chapel, courtyard and Basilica like the back of her hand, steering us to less crowded routes and perfect viewing vantages. One of us is Catholic, and one of us loves art, and Maria brilliantly held both our interests throughout the tour. Highly Recommend!
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