A Comprehensive Guide to St. Peter's Basilica: Tickets, History, and Architecture

St. Peter's Basilica is one of the most impressive and recognizable landmarks in the world. Located in Vatican City, it is a popular destination for tourists and pilgrims alike. This magnificent church is not only a symbol of the Catholic Church but also a testament to human ingenuity and artistic genius. In this article, we will provide you with a comprehensive guide to St. Peter's Basilica, including information on tickets, history, and architecture.

Tickets to St. Peter's Basilica

St. Peter's Basilica is open every day of the year, except on some special occasions, such as Christmas and Easter. There are no admission fees to enter the church, but visitors may need to queue for a while to pass through security checks. However, it is important to note that some areas of the church, such as the dome, the treasury, and the excavations, require separate St. Peter’s Basilica tickets.

To avoid long queues and save time, visitors can purchase skip-the-line tickets online in advance. These tickets allow visitors to bypass the security checks and go directly to the entrance of the church. Some tour operators also offer guided tours of the basilica, which can provide visitors with valuable insights into the history and architecture of the church.

Old St. Peter's Basilica

Before the current St. Peter's Basilica was built, there was another basilica on the same site. This earlier basilica, known as Old St. Peter's Basilica, was constructed in the fourth century AD by Emperor Constantine. The basilica was built over the tomb of St. Peter, the first Pope, who was martyred in Rome in the first century AD.

Old St. Peter's Basilica was an impressive building, but it suffered from several structural problems and was damaged by fires and earthquakes over the centuries. In the 16th century, Pope Julius II decided to replace the old basilica with a new one that would be grander and more impressive. The new basilica was designed by some of the most famous artists and architects of the time, including Michelangelo, Bramante, and Bernini.

Architecture of St. Peter's Basilica

The current St. Peter's Basilica is a masterpiece of Renaissance and Baroque architecture. The church was designed to be awe-inspiring and magnificent, to reflect the glory of God and the power of the Catholic Church. The basilica is built in the shape of a cross, with a central nave, four aisles, and a dome. The nave is lined with chapels and statues, while the aisles are decorated with frescoes and mosaics.

One of the most impressive features of the basilica is its dome, which was designed by Michelangelo. The dome is over 136 meters high and is supported by four massive pillars. Visitors can climb to the top of the dome to enjoy panoramic views of Rome and Vatican City.

Another notable feature of the basilica is the Pietà, a masterpiece of sculpture by Michelangelo. The Pietà is a statue of the Virgin Mary holding the body of Jesus after his crucifixion. The statue is considered one of the finest examples of Renaissance sculpture, and it is displayed in a side chapel of the basilica.


In conclusion, St. Peter's Basilica is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in history, architecture, or religion. Visitors can enter the church for free, but they may need to purchase separate tickets to visit some of the more restricted areas, such as the dome, the treasury, and the excavations. To save time and avoid queues, visitors can purchase skip-the-line tickets online in advance.

Share this:


We overland. We eat plants and fungi. We live outside as much as possible. We are all connected. A female travel blogger overlanding and writing about ecotourism, ethical and sustainable travel, socially conscious travel and housesitting. An online travel magazine since 2015.


    Disqus Comment
    Facebook Comment
comments powered by Disqus