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St. Peter's Square (Piazza San Pietro)
St. Peter's Square (Piazza San Pietro)

St. Peter's Square (Piazza San Pietro)

Open daily
Piazza san Pietro, Vatican City, 00120

The Basics

At the center of the square, a soaring Egyptian obelisk and two marble fountains—one by Carlo Maderno dating from 1613 and the second designed by Bernini to match in 1675—break up the sweeping cobblestone space. Within the colonnade, formed by massive Doric columns and topped by 140 statues of the saints, lies the security check for entry to St. Peter's and, on the other side, the Vatican post office. The square is the site of large public Masses on the main Catholic holidays and for papal audiences, when it is packed with pilgrims from all over Italy and the world.

St. Peter's Square is best visited with a tour guide as part of a small-group tour that touches on all the Vatican highlights, including the Vatican Museums and Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel, St. Peter's Basilica, the Vatican Gardens, and the Vatican Grottoes containing the tombs of former popes. The Vatican is a vast repository of art and history; savor it as part of a private tour with skip-the-line tickets to avoid wasting time in the Vatican's notoriously long queues.

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St. Peter's Basilica with Vatican official guides
St. Peter's Basilica with Vatican official guides
$31.28 per adult
Traveler Favorite
Exhilarating
Quiet informative if there could be a brochure that one would use later for reference. The guide was very knowledgeable, kudos to him.
John_O, Dec 2021

Recent reviews from experiences in Rome

star-5
Excellent kickoff to our visit to Rome
Blake_B, Oct 2021
Private Early Bird Vatican and St Peter's Basilica Tour
This was our very first tour when we arrived in Rome and it was spectacular! Our guide, Serena was the best and truly passionate about her city, history, and of course everything we would see at the Vatican. Highly recommended and definitely do the early morning tour to limit the crowds. This was perhaps one of the only silver linings of travelling during Covid but we had St. Peter's basically to ourselves. Highly recommended!
star-5
Very informative,...
Tatyana_Z, Dec 2021
Semi-Private Tour of the Vatican, Sistine Chapel & St. Peter's
Very informative, interactive, our guide Eugene (sorry if misspelled it) was fantastic! Would definitely recommend as the first Vatican tour!
star-5
Great time in Rome!
Alicia_M, Dec 2021
Private Early Bird Vatican and St Peter's Basilica Tour
Our tour was wonderful-would highly recommend it! Our guide was very knowledgeable and we learned so much.
star-5
I recommend this experience
Johann_K, Dec 2021
Meet Pope Francis at St Peter square Vatican City
A good organized, wonderful experience. Friendly, professional guide, we got great seats, the Pope stayed over one hour!
star-5
Highly recommend!
Kristen_M, Dec 2021
Semi-Private Tour of the Vatican, Sistine Chapel & St. Peter's
We had a wonderful experience touring the Vatican with Eugene. He was knowledgeable and entertaining and showed us so many interesting details that we never would’ve gotten on our own or with an audio guide. This was one of the best tours on our trip to Italy!
star-4
Wonderful Anges
Dante_M, Dec 2021
Scavi Tour to the Tomb of St. Peter's & Skip Line Guided Tour of the Basilica
The lady doing our tour of basilica (Anges) was so nice and friendly and incredibley knowledgeable. Highly recommended. However the tour of the tomb was with another lady who’s string Italian tongue overpowered her English and found it nearly impossible to understand her affecting that part of the tour.
star-5
Highly recommended
Dalton_H, Dec 2021
Meet Pope Francis at St Peter square Vatican City
Unfortunately didn't get the name of the gentleman that helped us but definitely recommend having a guide. Although the invitation is technically free. The value here is having the "know how" and getting the best seats possible. Great help and very friendly. Went on 12/ 15/21
star-5
Very well organised /...
christopher_g, Oct 2021
The Original Entire Vatican Tour & St. Peter's Dome Climb
Very well organised / great guide/wonderful experience/highly recommended / quite trying especially if busy and hot I guess
star-5
We couldn’t have asked...
James_B, Oct 2021
The Original Entire Vatican Tour & St. Peter's Dome Climb
We couldn’t have asked for a better tour guide than Chiara! She made the tour fun, was extremely knowledgeable and always engaging! I completely recommend doing this tour and climbing to the top of the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica. The view from the top is absolutely breathtaking and worth the 500+ stair climb to get there. The only thing I will say is that the tour definitely runs closer to 5 hours rather than 4. Overall, a fantastic tour of the Vatican!
star-5
Awesome experience
Franois_S, Dec 2021
Private Early Bird Vatican and St Peter's Basilica Tour
Fantastic experience!! The guide very knowledgeable and super friendly! I highly recommend this tour
star-5
Don’t miss this tour
Susan_B, Dec 2021
Semi-Private Tour of the Vatican, Sistine Chapel & St. Peter's
Elaine was an excellent tour guide. She told us very interesting things that we would have never known without a guide. She has a great sense of humor and made the whole experience very enjoyable.
star-5
The Absolute Best Way to See The Vatican!
Scott_H, Dec 2021
Private Early Bird Vatican and St Peter's Basilica Tour
This was my fifth time at the Vatican and by far the most enjoyable time. The Private Early Bird Tour is definitely the way to go. Without the crowds, one is really able to take in the majesty of the Vatican and St. Peter’s Basilica in a way that is simply not possible with the usual Vatican crowds. Our tour guide was Gianluca and he was fantastic. He was very knowledgable and patient with our group as we asked question after question. This tour is definitely worth the money.

Things to Know Before You Go

  • The Vatican is its own municipality and issues stamps; visit the post office under the colonnade in St. Peter's Square to send your postcards directly from Vatican City.

  • If you would like to see Pope Francis, it is imperative to book papal audience tickets in advance.

  • The square is accessible to wheelchair users.

  • There is a dress code to enter St. Peter's Basilica that requires clothing that covers the shoulders and knees; there is no dress code for the square.

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How to Get There

The most spectacular way to enter St. Peter's Square is by foot, crossing the Emperor Hadrian's Ponte Sant'Angelo over the River Tiber to Castel Sant'Angelo (Hadrian's Tomb) and walking up the grand Via della Conciliazione. Otherwise, use one of two metro line A stops: Ottaviano–S.Pietro–Musei Vaticani or Cipro.

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Trip ideas

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When to Get There

The square is crowded with visitors during the opening hours of St. Peter's Basilica, so consider booking a night tour or an early-entry basilica tour to see St. Peter's Square in relative peace.

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The Swiss Guards

St. Peter's Square, along with the rest of the Vatican, is protected by the historic Swiss Guards, established in the 16th century and still sporting their colorful Renaissance-style uniforms.

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