Saint Peter's Basilica

Saint Peter's Basilica, one of the largest churches in the world, is the holy center of Christendom.

The Basilica, rebuilt on the site of the martyrdom of St. Peter and today part of the smallest state in the world, the Vatican City, has seen the collaboration of great artists such as Michelangelo, Bramante and Bernini who dealt with renovating, during 1500's and 1600's, of the smaller Old St. Peter's Basilica, built in the 4th century by the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great.

Bramante, main responsible for the total renovation of the building, gave to the new basilica a Renaissance style, and, inspired by the Pantheon, designed a circular dome at the center of a Greek cross structure supported by four pillars. 

The dome later on was redesigned by Michelangelo, to provide an oval shape. Unable to complete the work, one of his students, Jacopo Barozzi da Vignola, carried out the construction after his death. Though, the dome, after some other change to the initial project, was completed by Giacomo della Porta together with Domenico Fontana.

Carlo Maderno, nephew of Domenico Fontana, and Bernini will then complete the construction of the facade and the embellishment of the inside of the Basilica, marking the transition to the baroque architecture, made of surprising dimensions, creativity and harmony. This will be turning the Basilica even more into a model for Rome and the entire world.

Saint Peter's Basilica, the largest church in the world and the main of the 4 Major Basilica, all of which in Rome, was built in the 4th century by the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, on the site where the tradition places the martyrdom of St. Peter, the first Pope of the Christian Church, executed during the reign of the Roman Emperor Nero inside the Vatican Circus, right next to the ancient Egyptian obelisk still standing today at the center of Saint Peter's square.

Indeed, the tomb of Peter, one of the Christ's Apostles meaning in greek stone, is supposedly directly below the altar of the Basilica, and for this reason many Popes have decided to rest for eternity right next to.

Main responsible for the total renovation of the building in 1500, in particular after a long period of abandon due to the Avignon Papacy that moved the Chair to France, Bramante gave to the new basilica a Renaissance style, and, inspired by the Pantheon, designed a circular dome at the center of a Greek cross structure supported by four pillars. 

The construction of the dome, later on redesigned by Michelangelo to provide an oval shape, will be carried out by one of his students, Jacopo Barozzi da Vignola and completed by Giacomo della Porta together with Domenico Fontana.

Carlo Maderno, nephew of Domenico Fontana, and Bernini will then complete the construction of the facade, the embellishment of the inside of the Basilica and the construction of the Great, marking the transition to the baroque architecture, made of surprising dimensions, creativity and harmony. 

The Dome is not the only landmark left by Michelangelo as the Pietà who sees his signature in the belt of the Virgin Mary, but also fascinating is the famous bronze canopy by Bernini above which rises the dome, called Cuppolone by the Romans.

The Baroque touch is visible in the colonnade of Bernini composed by 284 Doric columns and 88 pillars that surround the entire basilica Travertine thought of as the symbolic embrace of the faithful alike. 

OPENING HOURS

The Basilica is open every day from 7.00 to 19.00, April to September and from 7.00 to 18.30, October to March. Please cover your sholder. No skirts and shorts above knees allowed. 

Daily Mass Schedule: 9-10-11-12-17h.

Sundays and Holiday Mass Schedule: 9-10.30-11.30-12.15-13-16-17.45

Visits to the Dome of St. Peter’s are possible every day from 8.00 to 18.00, April to September and from 8.00 to 17.00, October to March. The entrance is at the portico of the Basilica.


TOURS:

Early Morning Tour (Private, Semi-Private and Small Group)

Vatican Tour for Kids and Treasure Hunt

 

NEARBY

Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel

Saint Angel's Castle and Museum

Cola di Rienzo  (Shooping)

Da Arlu (Restaurant)

Known by the Romans as "Er Cupolone", the dome of Saint Peter's Basilica has always influenced the life and the view of the people living and travelling to Rome. For being the highest building in the city center, the dome has inspired local and international artists to write and compose their songs and movies catching at each corner the view and imagination with its majesty.

The most famous song for the Romans inspired by the dome is undoubtdely Roma Capoccia from Antonello Venditti, where Rome is the capital of the world, with its majestic Colosseum and its holy Basilica makes life more real and nicer, especially at sunset when time has decided to stop.

RECOMMENDED TOURS: