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St. Peter's Basilica

Fast Facts

  • Location: Piazza San Pietro, Vatican City, Rome
  • Architects Donato Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno and Gian Lorenzo Bernini
  • Year of construction 1506 — 1626
  • Time of Visit:Basilica is open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. during April — September and from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. during October - March; Grottoes daily 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; Dome October to March daily from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and April to September from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Admission Fee:Basilica including Grottoes is free, Stairs to the dome €4, Elevator to the dome €5, Treasury 4 €
  • Nearest International Airport: Leonardo da Vinci Airport (Fiumicino)
  • Nearest Railway Station: Roma Termini Station
  • Nearest Metro Station: Line A — stop: Ottaviano
This is one piece of architecture that can easily compete with the Louvre for its magnificence as well as the sheer quality and volume of artwork that it treasures. Not a single inch has been left without being touched by the hands of some of the greatest masters of medieval and Renaissance art. Rome was always a powerful and rich city, and Papacy was the nerve center of its power. Gladly, a large amount of its funds went in creating and preserving the best religious artworks from across Europe, and occasionally other parts of the world. It is not surprising to feel lost and baffled by the extent of beauty that is harbored in the innards of this magnificent church — St. Peter's Basilica. It is also the top pilgrimage destinations for Catholics from all over the world — it is where the Pope stays, after all.

In Italian, the Saint Peter's Basilica is better known as the 'Basilica di san Pietro in Vaticano'. Catholic Tradition regards Saint Peter to be the first Bishop of Antioch and in successive times, the first Bishop of Rome. The Tomb of Saint Peter, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus, is believed to be under the Papal Altar of the Basilica. Following this tradition, it has been a burial site for other Popes as well. Built over an area of 5.7 acres, the magnificent architecture of St. Peter's Basilica speaks volumes about its prominence as the largest church of its age and is an embodiment of pilgrimage as held under the Catholic Tradition.


The present St. Peter's Basilica, Vatican City has been rebuilt over the Old Basilica which was set up by Emperor Constantine in the 4th Century A.D. The reconstruction of St. Peter's Basilica was flagged off in 1506 and was completed in the year 1626. The first attempt to rebuild the grand structure was made by Pope Nicholas V in the 15th Century, but no significant change could be brought about during his rule.

The next major successful step to replace the Old Basilica and set up an exquisite structure, was brought forward by Pope Julius II in 1505. Owing to the undying contribution of the succeeding Popes in the following 120 years, presently stands the St. Peter's Basilica.
What to see
  • Architecture

    St. Peter's Basilica represents one of the finest specimens of Roman architectural excellence. The exquisite carvings and the impeccable layouts were first designed by Donato Bramante. The other major contributors were Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno and Gian Lorenzo Bernini. A visit to St. Peter's Basilica demands a look out for the major structures that together form the grand Basilica.
  • St. Peter's Square

    Planned by Bernini, St. Peter's Square is ornamented by two fountains, one at the right and the other at the left side. The Square is bordered by a monumental Colonnade, comprising of 284 Doric columns on which 140 statues of saints have been built.
  • Artworks gracing the Exteriors

    The most exclusive artwork to watch out for is the Dome of St. Peter's Basilica, which is a large structure with an outer diameter of 137.7 ft. The design for the Dome was laid by Michelangelo. Built in the shape of a parabola, the Dome of St. Peter's Basilica stands at a height of 120 meters from the floor. There is also a lofty facade, which has 13 statues built over their top. A portico lies between the facade and the interiors of the Basilica.
  • Artworks gracing the Interiors

    Covering an area of 23,000 square meters, the interior of St. Basilica is used to exhibit the finest Renaissance architecture. The church has a 218 meters long nave. The interior with its 45 altars is beautified by eminent artists. Some of the most notable works include the Pieta by Michelangelo, the papal altar by Bernini, the Throne of St. Peter - also by Bernini - and the Monument to the Stuarts by Canova.

    You will watch the Nave, Right Aisle and Right Transept, Bernini's Baldacchino, the Confessio, Four Piers, Cupola and Inscriptions, Cathedra of St. Peter, Left Transept and Left Aisle and Crypt.

  • Dome observatory

    While visiting the dome, you will have the choice of taking the elevator or the stairs. The elevator brings you to the bottom of the dome from where you may go to the top of the dome.
A visit to St. Peter's Basilica will enthrall anybody.

Related Links : Find out the exceptional architectural beauty of the Saint Peter's Basilica, as well as glimpses of its interior from this video! Get a glimpse of some of the most amazing artworks preserved in the Saint Peter's Basilica from this amazing slideshow!


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