Built over the tomb of St. Peter, St. Peter's Basilica is the place from where today the Pope addresses his prayer to the whole world. Among the things to do in Rome, visiting St. Peter's Basilica can be a very interesting experience, but only if you know some tips to avoid the endless queues.
Visit the most emblematic places in the Vatican without worrying about waiting in line.
On this guided tour, lasting about two and a half hours, you will explore St. Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums with an expert guide and without waiting in line.
With this ticket, you will enjoy a tour, lasting about two and a half hours, full of architecture, art and history, in which you will learn in depth about St. Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums thanks to the detailed explanations of an expert guide.
In addition, you will be able to contemplate the popular paintings of Italian Renaissance artists such as Caravaggio, Raphael and Michelangelo. All this without waiting in line. And if you want, you can ask for a headset to hear all the explanations clearly and not miss any detail.
Recommended if... You are short on time on your trip to Rome, this is the ideal experience as it will allow you to skip the line and have an efficient and concise tour of St. Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums.
The best skip-the-line entrance to St. Peter's Basilica
The interior of St. Peter's Basilica is so impressively rich in detail that taking an organized tour is a perfect idea so you won't miss a thing. On this guided tour you will have at your disposal an official Vatican guide, expert in the symbology and art you will see inside St. Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums, plus the great advantage of being able to free yourself from waiting in line.
What to consider before booking a ticket to St. Peter's Basilica
- First of all, you should know that the entrance to St. Peter's Basilica is completely free. In case you want to visit this place on your own, you can do so, without the need of a guide or reservation. The queues to get in without being part of an organized tour are quite long, but don't worry, I'll tell you how to avoid them below!
- When booking either of the two tours, you will receive a confirmation email, so it is very important that you give a valid email address that you normally use at the time of purchase. Check that everything is correct in the email and keep it handy to show it to the guide.
- If for whatever reason you don't want to do the tour after you have booked it, don't worry, you can get a refund, but you must initiate the refund process within 24 hours of the tour time. You will get the instructions in the mail.
Skip the Lines at St. Peter's Basilica
Entering St. Peter's Basilica is free and you don't need a ticket to get inside, but the long lines you'll find at the door at almost any time of the day will make you think twice. That's why there are options to skip the long lines and enter the Basilica directly.
For example, with this option of a guided tour of St. Peter's Basilica, the Sistine Chapel and the Vatican Museums, you will enter the church directly after passing through the Vatican Museums (with an expert guide) and you will save waiting time.
My advice is that, if you are going to visit St. Peter's Basilica on your own, set aside at least 3 hours to see everything at your leisure and take advantage of the climb to the dome.
Practical information about St. Peter's Basilica
- St. Peter's Basilica opens its doors at 7 a.m. and closes at 7 p.m. in summer(April-September) and at 6:30 p.m. in winter(October-March). On Wednesdays, the Basilica is closed to the public for the papal audience, and resumes its usual schedule from 1 p.m. onwards.
- The best time to visit St. Peter's Basilica is usually first thing in the morning, when the doors open, until 9 am. In any case, I advise you to consult the Vatican calendar to anticipate any event that may alter the schedules and the influx of visitors.
- To get to St. Peter's Basilica, in Piazza San Pietro, it is best to take the metro line A to the Ottaviano - San Pietro stop. Don't miss the theatrical grandeur of the walk to the square.
- The entrance to the basilica, as I have already mentioned, is free. Only the Sacristy and the Treasury Museum, as well as the dome, require a specific entrance fee.
- Remember the dress code that applies to all places of worship in Rome: shoulders and knees covered, which means no shorts, skirts, or tank tops.
- If you have any more questions, check out my guide with the best tips for visiting the Vatican.
Visit also the Vatican Museums
This option that includes a visit to the Vatican Museums, in addition to St. Peter's Basilica is ideal, since the Vatican Museums is the place where the jewel in the crown of the Holy See is located: the Sistine Chapel. In addition to other rooms of great interest such as the Rooms of Raphael, the Vatican Picture Gallery or the Gallery of Maps.
The experience in the Vatican Museums will be led by an official Vatican guide who will give you an in-depth view of the rooms you will visit.
What to do at the end of the tour
If the visit has made you a little hungry and you want to kill your appetite in the Vatican area, beware of the traps that this part of the city has prepared for tourists. I tell you here where to eat near the Vatican so that you leave there with a good taste in your mouth.
And having visited the seat of Christianity in all its glory, you may want to go back to the origins of this cult. For this, a visit to the Catacombs of Rome is a very interesting experience, as you will be able to see the tombs of some of the first popes and the artistic and religious expressions of the first Christians. For information about tours of the city's subway world, click here: Rome Catacombs Tickets: how to buy and prices.
And, also, here is a post about what to do in Rome, so you can plan the rest of your trip.