St. Peter’s Basilica from Top to Bottom with Dome Climb & Crypt

222 reviews

2 hrs 30 mins

Max 15

Why take this tour?

Give Christendom's greatest church the time it deserves with this comprehensive St. Peter's Basilica tour. From the top of Michelangelo's Dome to the bottom of the Papal Crypt, you'll hear the epic story of this extraordinary building and learn about the men whose faith, genius, and political skullduggery made it a reality.

Highlights

  • Created with Sketch.Discover St. Peter's Basilica in its full glory with our most comprehensive tour
  • Created with Sketch.Avoid waiting for hours in line with priority access
  • Created with Sketch.Climb (or walk!) to the top of the dome and see one of the best views of Rome
  • Created with Sketch.Experience the magnificence without the crowds with an early start time

Take the time to explore the most magnificent Basilica in Rome

St. Peter's Basilica is not just any old church and this is not just any old tour. Our St. Peter's Basilica Tour takes you into every corner of the great Basilica whilst giving you the story of how the dreams of holy men and artists turned into reality.

Your tour starts early in St. Peter's square, where you'll see the Swiss Guards and learn about their unique history. Because we arrive early, you'll be some of the first people of the day to board the elevator up to the first level of the dome. Here you'll be right underneath the incredible mosaics that most visitors only see from the ground.

From there it's up 320 steps to the top. B...

Read more

St. Peter's Basilica is not just any old church and this is not just any old tour. Our St. Peter's Basilica Tour takes you into every corner of the great Basilica whilst giving you the story of how the dreams of holy men and artists turned into reality.

Your tour starts early in St. Peter's square, where you'll see the Swiss Guards and learn about their unique history. Because we arrive early, you'll be some of the first people of the day to board the elevator up to the first level of the dome. Here you'll be right underneath the incredible mosaics that most visitors only see from the ground.

From there it's up 320 steps to the top. Because we don't want to put you under pressure for pace (or hold you back if you're eager to rush to the top), your guide will let you do this section by yourself, but not before giving you instructions on what to keep an eye out for when you get to the top. The views from St. Peter's Basilica Dome need no explanation: they're some of the best in Rome, so take a moment to savor them (and snap a picture or two).

Back on terra firma your guide will lead you on a fully guided St. Peter's Basilica tour, not only telling you the finer points of its epic history, but also helping you decode the symbolism woven into every surface. With their guidance you'll learn to appreciate the immense amount of time, effort and vision that went into the building of this superstructure. You'll also gape at the church's two most treasured works of art, Michelangelo's Pietá and Bernini's enormous Baldachin altar piece.

Finally, you'll descend beneath the floor of the nave to explore the Papal Crypt. Many of the Popes are buried in this chamber, and it's an important pilgrimage for Catholics. Although your guide will accompany you, they are not allowed to speak at length because this is a holy site but they will tell you which graves to look out for before you go and arm you with the history of each of these church leaders.

The most comprehensive St. Peter's Basilica tour available, this service saves you hours of waiting in line, transforming that time into a deep and worthwhile exploration of one of Christianity's most important churches.

  • Sites Visited
  • St. Peter’s Basilica
  • St. Peter’s Basilica dome
  • St. Peter’s Basilica crypt
  • St. Peter’s Square
  • Tour Includes
  • St. Peter’s Basilica dome tickets
  • Expert tour guide
  • Small groups of max 15 people
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Verified guest reviews

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Latest Reviews

Camilla is wonderful. Her passion and knowledge shine through on the tour. It was great to enjoy St. Peter’s so early before the true tourist rush.

Our guide was extremely knowledgeable, cordial and helpful and spoke or language quite well. She was delight to have.


FAQ

Does St. Peter's Basilica have a dress code?
Yes, although you aren't expected to dress as formally as if you were attending a mass. Unless you actually are attending a mass. The most important rule is NO SHORTS, that applies to both men and women. Shoulders must also be covered, so no tank tops. Small bags and umbrellas are permitted inside but large bags have to be checked at the entrance, next to the official audio-guides desk.
Does this tour visit the Vatican "Scavi" including the tomb of St. Peter?
No. The Papal Crypt and the "Scavi" are different sites. In order to visit the latter you have to make special arrangements with the Vatican.
Can I use a wheelchair on this tour?
Yes, but we require advance notice in order to accommodate wheelchairs on this tour. After booking, please contact us so that we can organize a private tour for you. If we cannot find a guide to lead you that day we'll offer you the same tour on the next avaialbe date or give you credit for another tour anywhere else in the world.
I'd like to climb to the top of the Dome of St. Peter's. Anything I should know?
The St. Peter's Dome climb requires separate tickets, one allows you to take the elevator up part of the way then climb a further 320 steps, while another permits you to climb the entire 551 steps. Either way the view from the top is worth it!
Is there elevator access to the dome of St. Peter's Basilica
The elevator up St. Peter's dome only goes as far as the first level, to the mosaics. After that, the only way to get to the top is to walk up the 281 steps.
Is there a long line to enter St. Peter's Basilica?
On our exclusive tours of St. Peter's we avoid standing in the notoriously long line by showing up early. It’s amazing how few people are able to get out of bed in time to be there when the doors open. Even in the height of summer, you can miss the worst of the line by simply sucking it up and getting an early start. Aside from getting there early there is no way to skip the line. In high season (May – September) it can stretch over 2 hours and even in the low season it might reach an hour. The only other alternative is to take a certified Vatican Museums tour with a certified tour group – there is a passageway that runs from the Sistine Chapel to St. Peter’s that is specially reserved for tour groups. Currently, it is the only way to circumvent the line at the entrance to the Basilica.