The following information
will answer most questions.
St Peter's is free to enter
and open everyday.
If you can't find your answer here, send an e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org
St. Peter's Basilica: open everyday, Apr-Sep 7:00-7:00pm;
Oct-Mar 7:00-6:30pm (For occasional
closings Click Here)
Treasury Museum: Apr-Sep 9:00-6:15pm
Oct - Mar 9:00-5:15pm
Grottoes: Apr-Sep 7:00-6:00pm; Oct-Mar7:00-5:00pm
Cupola: Apr-Sep 8:00-6:00pm; Oct - Mar 8:00-4:45
Scavi Office: weekdays 9:00-5:00pm
Basilica Central Phones: +39 06 6988 3731, +39 06 6988
Fax: +39 06 6988 5518
Sacristy + 39 06 6988 3712
Parish Office + 39 06 6988 5435 Fax: +39 06 6988 5793
Vatican Switchboard + 39 06 6982
to St. Peter's Basilica
By Subway - This map shows the Vatican area and nearest subway
stop. Take Linea A (red line) toward Battistini and exit at
Ottaviano-S. Pietro. Walk south on Via Ottaviano toward St.
By Walking - From the city center, the most direct route is
to cross the Tiber and walk straight up Via Conciliazioni.
A more interesting route is to go under the Passetto arch
near Castel S. Angelo and walk up Pio Borgo, providing a more
dramatic entrance from the right (north) side of the Piazza.
Peter's Area Rome
to the Vatican Museum (Vatican
If you're going to the Vatican Museum, you may NOT
want to go to St. Peter's Square first.
By Subway - Take the Linea A (red line) toward Battistini and exit
either at Ottaviano-S.Pietro or Cipro-Musei Vaticani. They're both
about the same distance from the entrance.
Follow your map and the Vatican Wall to the entrance.
From St. Peter's - Exit the Square to the north and walk
along the Vatican Wall (10-15 min.)
Vatican Museum & Sistine Chapel - (Vatican
Hours - Closed on most Sundays and holidays, check the
Monday to Saturday 9:00-6:00pm (final entry 4:00pm)
Every last Sunday of the month 9:00-2:00pm (final entry 12:30pm
Tours of the Vatican Gardens, Villas or Archaeological Areas -
Many people still come to St. Peter's Square looking for the entrance
to the Museum. The roof of the Sistine Chapel can be seen from the
Square, but it's a 10-15 min. walk, north along the Vatican Wall,
to the museum entrance. Modest dress is required.
To avoid the long queue, book a "Skip
the Line" ticket online from the Vatican Museum.
Mass Schedule for St. Peter's
8:30 - Blessed Sacrament
Chapel In Italian, with homily, followed by Eucharistic Adoration
9:00, 10:00, 11:00, 12:00 - Altar
of St. Joseph (Left Transept), In Italian, with homily
of the Chair (Cattedra) In Latin, with singing, homily
Adoration in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel is from Monday to
Adoration follows the 8:30 mass until Benediction at
and Holy Days
9:00 - Altar
of the Chair (Cattedra) - Mass for the Parish, in
Italian, with homily
10:30 - Altar of the Chair
(Cattedra) - Solemn Mass in Latin, with singing, homily in Italian
11:15 - Blessed
Sacrament Chapel - In Italian, with homily
12:15 - Altar of the Chair
(Cattedra) - In Italian, with homily
1:00pm - Altar of St. Joseph
- (Left Transept), In Italian, with homily
4:00pm - Altar of the Chair
(Cattedra) - In Italian, with homily
4:45pm - Vespers - Altar
of the Chair - sung in Latin
5:30pm - Altar of the Chair
(Cattedra) - In Italian, with homily
In addition to public masses, visiting priests have early
private masses at side altars,
at 7:15 and 8:00 from Monday -
Saturday. Reservations are made for private masses, and for
masses held in the grottoes.
There are no scheduled masses in English
at St Peter's.
For a list of English masses in Rome use this
The American Community in Rome
Sacrament of Penance (right
attendant at the right transept (far right of the papal altar) and
indicate that you want to enter for confession. The attendant can
direct you toward the language of your choice, which is indicated
on the wooden confessionals.
7:00 to 12:30 and Apr-Sep 16:00 to 18:00; Nov-Mar 15:00 to 18:00
7:00 to 13:00 and Apr-Sep 16:00 to 18:00; Nov-Mar 15:00 to 18:00
Papal Event Tickets
Tickets for Wednesday General Audience
with the Holy Father can be obtained in several ways. You go to St. Peter's Square,
clear security, find the Bronze
Doors to the Apostolic Palace, and request them from the Swiss Guards.
If you want tickets far in advance, have a large group, or require
Papal Mass Tickets, try one of the following resources. Note: Christmas
and Easter Papal Mass tickets are difficult to obtain.
of the Pontifical Household, is the office in charge of
distributing free tickets for Papal Masses and celebrations.
You can write them at: Prefecture of the Papal Household, Vatican City 00120.
Call Ph: + 39 06
6988 4857; or Fax: + 39 06 6988 5863
Tickets are picked up at
the Paul VI Audience Hall.
Visitors Office to the Vatican This office was setup to assist
US Visitors. They have a limited supply of tickets for Papal
Via dell' Umiltá 30, 00187 Rome, Phone: +
06.6900.1821 Fax: + 39 06 679 1448 Email: email@example.com
American Church in Rome, has a website
that allows you to request tickets for the Wednesday Audience online.
Calendar of Papal Celebrations
The Dress Code
is strictly enforced at
St. Peter's Basilica. No shorts, bare shoulders or miniskirts. This
applies to both men and women. Even if you get through security,
you will be turned away by the attendants at the door. On a hot
summer day, I've seen men in shorts turned away.
Vatican Post Office
This is a
great place to send a send a post card home, or collect stamps.
There are three Post Office locations in St. Peter's Square; along the Charlemagne
Wing (left side), just beyond the colonnades on the right
side, and stand alone Post Office in the Square. Items must have Vatican postage and be mailed from the Vatican.
Climbing the Cupola
Hours: Apr - Sep 8:00 - 6:00pm, Oct - Mar 8:00 - 4:45pm
Cost: 10 Euros for elevator, 8 Euros for stairs
At the entrance to the
basilica, there is a sign that directs you to the right
of the portico (past the Holy Door) and to the kiosk for the elevator.
I highly recommend the elevator, as there is nothing to see along
the stairs, and it's a long
walk. The queue for the cupola can get very long, and the
tickets are not sold online. It is possible to skip the line
by booking a tour with Vox Mundi.
If you're with
someone who doesn't want to climb the 320 steps to the top of the
dome, they can still take the elevator to the roof, enjoy the view
from the gallery inside the dome looking down into the basilica,
and then visit the gift shop and restaurant, while the others
make the climb. If you're overly energetic, you can take the stairs
that winds around the elevator to reach the roof.
you enter the interior gallery at the base of the dome, you have the option
of climbing up the cupola or exiting to the roof level. If you make the
climb, you'll pass several small windows that provide a view. At
the top you receive the views so often seen in photographs. See
if you can spot Rome's other great dome, the Pantheon.
Back on the
roof, you have access to restrooms, water fountains, a gift shop
and a restaurant. Take a walk to the front of the basilica to
look into the Square and observe the huge statues on the facade.
When you're ready to depart, there is again the option of elevator
or stairs. Along the walls of the stairs are
historical inscriptions listing
some noble people who visited the cupola of St. Peter's Basilica.
Gift Shops and Restaurant
are many gift shops in and around St. Peter's, and a snack bar on the roof.
Without going through the security
queue to enter the basilica, you can access the gift shop on the left (south) side of the
Charlemagne Wing. There is also a book shop here, near the basilica
security area of the basilica, a gift shop is located on the right
of the atrium (north), just past the Holy Door. This area is
called the Gregory the Illuminator Patio. It contains the
cupola ticket kiosk, exit from the Grottoes, and exit down from the
Sistine Chapel. Fair warning: This area can get very
The gift shop at the entrance
of the Treasury Museum is easier to access. Just go under the
Monument to Pius VIII, follow the signs for the Sacristy and
Museum. This is a nice area to visit even if you aren't
shopping, and you can see the famous Colonna Santa for free.
The largest gift shop is on
the roof, next to the only snack bar. Access to the roof is
only by paying for a ticket to the cupola. A
'skip the line' tour is available. This is a great area to
visit, even if you don't want to climb the 320 steps to the top of
This area on the roof has the sign
'refreshment', and only offers drinks and a few sandwiches.
However, there are a few tables and it's a welcome rest stop during
a lengthy tour.
Grottoes is the level below the floor of St. Peter's where many
popes and a few royals are buried. Below the Grottoes is the ancient
Necropolis (seen on the Scavi tour), which is the Roman "city
of the dead" and excavations of St. Peter's tomb.
is accessed by stairs below the St. Andrew
statue near the papal altar. The exit is to the right (north)
external side of St. Peter's, near the cupola kiosk.
This area is now called the St Gregory the Illuminator Patio.
One of the
highlights of the visit is the view into the
the area in front of St. Peter's tomb. The Niche of the Pallium,
with the bronze urn containing the woolen stolls given to new Archbishops,
is often mistakenly thought to hold the bones of St. Peter.
Office is on the left (south) side wing of St. Peter's, often called
the Charlemagne Wing.
This area is accessed by several doors and has a Post Office on
the far (west) end and the information
desk on the near (east) end. This is where you can ask about
the free tour given at 2:15pm by the seminarians.
There are three
main restroom areas. Along the Charlemagne Wing (left side), beyond
the colonnades on the upper right side, and in the bag check area
on the lower right side of the facade of the basilica. The bag check
area has the newest restrooms, and the only ones that can be used
without exiting security. From here you can rent the audio
tour of the Basilica.
Weddings at St. Peter's
It is possible
to get married in the Chapel of
the Choir at St. Peter's Basilica.
To arrange a wedding,
start by contacting the
Scavi Tour (St. Peter's Tomb)
This 90 min.
tour into the Excavations of the Necropolis (City of the Dead) underneath
St. Peter's, is one of the most interesting in all of Rome, but
you must book well in advance. Start by going to the
Website. There is a request form online.
Fax + 39 06 6987 3017
to email the Excavations Office the number of visitors, names, language,
contact info in Rome, and time period desired. Try to be flexible
on the dates and times. Groups are limited to apx. 15, and no children
under 11 are allowed.
is accessed on the left (south) side of the colonnade, through the
Sant' Uffico gate.
Go through security, show the Swiss Guards
your reservation and say Scavi.
on the Necropolis is found in Margherita Guarducci's book "The
Tomb of St. Peter"
Seeing the Pope
at noon, the pope usually (if he's in town) appears at the second
window from the right of the Apostolic Palace, to pray the Angelus
and bless the crowd in the Square. Benedict XVI has continued this
tradition, no ticket required.
you can attend the Wednesday 10:00am General Audience held in St Peter's
Square. In winter, or bad weather, the audience is held in the Paul VI Hall accessed
just to the left of the Square (Sant' Uffico gate). Tickets are required for the Audience,
but are easily obtained. See Papal Event Tickets
come to St Peter's Square and ask how to get to the Sistine Chapel.
This is the wrong entrance. The Sistine Chapel is part of the Vatican
Museums and that entrance is a 10-15 min. walk along the Vatican
Wall from the Square. (See: Getting to
the Vatican Museum). You can however, from the Square, see the
roof of the Sistine
Chapel that emits the famous black or white smoke during the
papal elections. It's the angled roof just to the right of the basilica,
but the stove pipe is removed after the conclave.
Tomb of John Paul II
tomb of John Paul II was originally in the grottoes below the
floor of the Basilica. This spot
was previously occupied by the tomb of John XXIII, who's body
was moved up into the basilica. In 2011 John Paul II was declared
Blessed, and his body was moved up into the basilica and placed
Altar of St Sebastain. The webcam for his tomb is
The are many
ways to take a tour of St Peter's Basilica, but beware of the
sketchy people in the Square pushing 'skip the line' tours. Most of
these are just overpriced tours of the Vatican Museums that exit
into the basilica. It is possible to skip the line if you book
with the official tour service to the basilica,
If you like
doing it yourself, then print out our one
page walking tour, and give it a try.
If you want to try a
free tour, check at the Information
Desk near the Post Office to see if the seminarians are giving a
2:15pm tour. This is only available when the students are in school,
and you must go through the security line.
has now designated an official tour service,
Vox Mundi. You can book a
guided tour online or rent an audio walking tour. Tours are
offered for the basilica (apx 1 hour), Mosaic Studio,
and Necropolis (Scavi Tour). Vox Mundi
has desks in the bag check area to the right of the basilica, and in
the Atrium as you enter the basilica.
Reservation for Private Mass
priests in Rome may reserve a private early morning mass at a side
altar in the basilica. These masses can only be held at 7:15
and 8:00am, and you will be assigned and escorted to an available
altar. Alb, chasible, lectionary in your language, and other
objects are provided. Reservations are made with the Sacristy:
tel. +39 06 6988 3712
Reservations for groups can be
made for the chapels in the Grottoes, 7:15 and 8:00am.
groups and diocesan pilgrimages must contact the Vicariate directly
to make arrangements for celebrations.
Fax: + 39 06 698 855 18; Tel: + 39 06 698 81496
The size of
the Grottoes Chapels is as follows:
Clementine Chapel (apx. 10 people)
Central Altar (apx. 50 people)
Mexican Chapel (apx. 6 people)
Lithuanian Chapel - Our Lady Mater Misericordiae (apx. 25 people)
Madonna Bocciatta (apx. 6 people)
Madonna Partorienti (apx. 10 people)
Irish Chapel (apx. 25 people)
Polish Chapel - Our Lady of
Czestochowa (apx. 20 people)
Patron Saints of Europe
(apx. 20 people)
Hungarian Chapel (apx. 35 people)
Madonna between Peter and Paul (apx. 5 people)
Closings at St Peter's Basilica
The Basilica will be
closed for tourists during Papal Celebrations and other events.
It is closed every Wednesday morning when the General Papal Audience
is in the Square.
It opens up at approximately 12:30pm on
A Papal Mass at the Basilica will cause a delayed
opening or early closing.
Check the calendar of Papal Events
The Basilica may be
temporarily closed unexpectedly, (example, Heads of State visit)
The best source for up to date Opening Hours is the
Links - Vatican
Practical Information - Vatican
Vatican website - Basilica Papale San Pietro (Italian)
Vatican State website - St Peter's Basilica (English)
Basilicas and Chapels
Papal Schedule - Vatican.va
Tickets for Papal Events - Vatican Preffettura
Necropolis - Tomb
of St Peter - Scavi reservations
Virtual Tour of the Scavi
Homilies of the Holy Father
Photografic Service of L'Osservatore Romano
Campo Santo Teutonico - Cemetery (German)
Catacombs of Rome
Vatican Publishing House
Photo Galleries - Vatican
Anne Parish in the Vatican
Office of Papal
Links - External
Vox Mundi - Official Guides to St
U.S. Visitors Office to the Vatican - PNAC
San Pietro - Churches of Rome Wiki
Peter's Basilica - Wikipedia
St Patrick's American
Church in Rome
to the Holy See
Missionaries of Divine Revelation - Vatican Tours
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