The 10 + 1 key things you need to know before visiting St Peter’s Basilica in Rome. Tickets, opening hours, dressing code, when to visit and much more.
Visiting St Peter’s Basilica is a highlight of any trip to Rome. That said, St Peter is is a holy place, the center of Christianity, with massive security procedure, and it’s normal for first comers to have many questions about their visit.
I tried to collect the most frequent questions about visiting St Peter’s Basilica and to provide answers and guidance, so to make your visit smooth and enjoyable.
Here are the 10 + 1 questions you will find an answer to in this post:
What is St Peter’s Basilica dress code?
What’s the best time to visit St Peter’s Basilica?
Why are queues to enter St Peter’s Basilica so long?
What are St Peter’s Basilica opening hours?
Is St Peter’s Basilica always open?
How much are the tickets to enter St Peter’s Basilica?
Is it possible to climb on top of St Peter’s dome?
Can I take pictures in St Peter’s Basilica?
When are St Peter’s Basilica Mass times?
Can I visit St Peter’s tomb?
(bonus question: you need to get to the end of the post to know)
Climbing to the top of St Peter’s dome is one of the highlights of a trip to Rome. Here is how to climb the dome and how to skip the queue.
Not that many visitors know that it is possible to climb up to the top of St Peter’s dome (the “cupola”). Actually getting on top of St Peter’s dome is one of Rome must do, and a great opportunity to enjoy a fantastic and dizzying city panorama all around Rome and to admire a top down view of St Peter’s basilica nave.
When to visit St Peter’s dome
Best thing for you would be to visit the dome first thing in the morning, when it opens, at 8:00 AM. Not much queue at that time, you may have the dome almost for yourself.
In that case, you may first climb up the dome and then visit St Peter’s basilica (when you get down from the dome you will end up in the nave).
A good alternative is to climb on top of St Peter’s dome before it closes: you will then admire Rome in its unique sunset golden light. In Wintertime, you will see Rome’s lights and, at Christmas, the huge Christmas tree in St Peter’s square.
Similarly, first go up to the dome, then visit the Basilica, which closes later than the dome.
In summertime, better to avoid climbing on top of St Peters dome in the hottest hours of the day: the stairs and the viewpoint can get very hot and uncomfortable at that time.
How to climb up St Peter’s dome
In order to climb up St Peter’s dome, you need to go throw St Peter cathedral security check.
At the entrance to the basilica, after the security check, look right. There is a sign that directs you to the far right of the portico (past the Holy Door) and to the kiosk for the elevator.
This is where you purchase the tickets to St Peter’s dome. Note that the Basilica entrance is on the right side of the colonnade.
In high season, queues could be very long and spoil part of your day.