Travel Guide About St. Peter's Basilica

About St. Peter's Basilica

Considered to be the center of Christendom, St. Peter’s Basilica is one of the major pilgrimage sites of the Vatican City. A home to many Renaissance and Baroque art, this iconic basilica is a major attraction for history lovers as it takes them in for a ride through the impressive Roman history.

You can have a look at various monuments and sculptures created by many talented legendary artists. The most famous among them are the baldachin, Michelangelo’s Pietà by Bernini, a statue of St. Longinus, the tomb of Urban VIII, and the bronze cathedral of St. Peter.

St. Peter’s Basilica used to be the tallest building at the time it was built and presently, it is the church with the tallest dome in the world. The great height of the building provides a beautiful view of the entire city.

How to Reach St. Peter's Basilica

The nearest airport to St. Peter’s Basilica is Fiumicino, which is located at an approximate distance of around 32.5 kilometers from the basilica. Here are the 3 ways to reach the basilica from the airport.

By Rail: Unfortunately, there isn’t any direct train available from Fiumicino airport to St. Peter’s Basilica. However, you can take a train from the airport and reach Roma S. Pietro through Roma Trastevere.
From here, you can cover a walkable distance of only 1.2 kilometers to arrive at St. Peter’s Basilica in just 10 to 14 minutes.
By Road: You can take a cab from Fiumicino airport and reach St. Peter’s Basilica in no more than just 26 minutes.
By Bus: Unfortunately, there isn’t any direct bus available from Fiumicino airport to St. Peter’s Basilica.

But, you can catch a bus from Fiumicino Piazza Generale Carlo Alberto dalla Chiesa and reach Cavalleggeri/Gregorio Vii through Aurelia/Madonna Del Riposo. From here, you can cover a walkable distance of only 789 meters to arrive at St. Peter’s Basilica in just 9 minutes.

Best Time to Visit St. Peter's Basilica

Usually, there is a long queue of visitors at St. Peter’s Basilica in the morning and afternoon. So, if you want to avoid the rush and enjoy your tour, the best timing is either early in the morning, before 9 a.m. or late evening, after 4 p.m.

It is best to avoid Wednesday mornings as the basilica might be closed for the Papal audience up to late evening. The place is most crowded on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. Avoid visiting the basilica on any holiday or any important religious dates as it is the peak time when the number of visitors increases.

Also, keep an extra day in hand while planning a visit to the place and avoid visiting the basilica on the last day of your trip.

The Building of St. Peter’s Basilica

St. Peter’s Basilica is the largest church in the world, with a very impressive design. Its nave is 211.5 meters long and if we include the narthex, it becomes 694 feet. The dome has a diameter of 42.34 meters and is 132.5 meters high. It is the largest dome in the world. Carlo Maderno created the travertine front facade of St. Peter’s Basilica.

He made slight changes in the original design made by Michelangelo and widened the narthex to 114.7 meters. He also changed the location of the massive columns from the front of the building and placed them against the walls.

The facade itself is 45.5 meters high and has statues of Jesus, John the Baptist, and the Apostles, except for St. Peter, on top of it and the statues are 5.7 meters tall. It also has huge clocks on both sides which are supported by the angels.

Tips for visiting St. Peter’s Basilica

Some important tips to make your trip comfortable and enjoyable:

1. If you are visiting St. Peter’s Basilica for the first time, get a guide for yourself or rent an audio guide from inside the kiosk to know important facts and details about every part you see.

2. Make sure that you follow the dress code, otherwise you will be denied entry into the basilica.

3. There are also some parts for which you will need to get in touch with the Excavations Office and apply for a visit. The applications should be made a minimum of 2 months prior to the actual trip.