St Peter's Basilica
Rome • Italy

From: Rome Travel Guide

See also: Vatican CityVatican Museums Sistine Chapel

St Peter's Basilica, Rome, Italy
St Peter's Basilica (San Pietro in Vaticano) is situated within the Vatican City and has been built on the site where St Peter was crucified and buried, the tomb of St Peter is under the main alter and within the Basilica are the tombs of many former Popes including for example John Paul II.

St Peter's Square ( Piazza San Pietro ) leads you towards the Basilica and with its Egyptian obelisk which was brought to Rome by the Emperor Caligola in around 37 BC

Within the Basilica are many beautiful works of art such as the famous Pietà, which was sculpted by Michelangelo and which shows the Virgin Mary cradling Jesus who is dead in her lap after his crucifixion. Other sculptures within include the well known bronze statue of St. Peter and a statue of St Peter's brother St Andrew which was sculptured by by Francois Duquesnoy in 1635.

There are forty five altars and eleven chapels inside the Basilica with incredible monuments such as Bernini's Baldacchino which is a magnificent monument that towers over the papal alter, it is made of dark bronze and stands around 30 meters tall with beautiful spiral columns and wonderful detailing, Bernini also worked on much of the Basilica's wondrous interior which also includes the Chair of St. Peter or St Peter's Throne (Cathedra) as well as the beautiful Piazza outside.

Other monuments include The Monument to Pius VII who restored the Jesuit order in 1814 and which can be found in the Clementine Chapel and the Monument to Innocent XII which was by Filippo della Valle in 1746. The sunken Confessio by Madernois is sited at the foot of the Balacchino and papal alter.

Michelangelo designed the graceful dome (cupola) which is supported by 4 piers, each of the piers has its own niche which contains a statue of each of the major relics, St Helena, St Longinus, St Andrew and St Veronica.

Dress Code
As with many churches in Rome you must ensure that your knees and shoulders are covered over.

Guided tours are available and can be booked through the information desk, alternatively an audio guide can be obtained from the entrance desk at the Basilica.

Attraction Location Guide
St Peter's Basilica is located within the Vatican City.