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St. Peter's Basilica (Basilica di San Pietro)

This exquisite church offers some of Rome’s most notable architecture, as well as possessing a magnificent art collection that can be viewed by the public.

The lofty dome at the heart of St. Peter’s Basilica is a famous symbol of Vatican City – the world’s smallest autonomous state – and one of many lofty contributions to the Late Renaissance and Baroque periods of architecture.

The history of the site is based around a great deal of Christian mythology. It is said that following Jesus’ crucifixion, one of his twelve disciples, Peter from Galilee, underwent a long journey to Rome, and upon arriving was martyred by the Emperor Nero. Peter allegedly died close to an Egyptian obelisk in the Circus; a site which still stands today. The spot was initially marked by a red rock, then a shrine, before the first St Peter’s Basilica was built in the fourth century. Eventually, this wooden structure fell into disrepair, and a huge construction project was commissioned to replace it, which was to last over a century! The project was commissioned by Pope Julius II and the new Basilica was finally officially opened on 18th November, 1626.

Since then, St Peter’s Basilica has become one of the most sacred Catholic sites in the world, and also one of the most frequently visited. The exquisite exterior blends the work of various well-known names that span generations, with Bramante, Raphael and Michelangelo’s work all featured, including its iconic dome.

The interior is awe-inspiring. Once inside the Basilica, there is an abundance of fascinating material to discover. There are exquisite frescoes and mosaics by the likes of Bernini and Giotto alongside Michelangelo’s Peita and Arnolfo di Cambio’s Saint Peter sculptures, Vico Consorti’s Holy Door and Bernini’s famous ornate altar, making it one the world’s most lavishly and extravagantly decorated buildings. Beneath the Basilica there are other rare treasures to discover, such as the beautiful tombs of historically significant Vatican figures, from St. Peter to Pope John Paul II. Whatever your religious persuasion, this is a location not to be missed.

St. Peter’s Basilica is in central Rome and open daily. Opening times vary depending on the season. The Vatican Museum is closed on Sundays. By foot from the city centre, cross the Tiber and walk straight up the Via della Conciliazione. The Ottaviano Metro station is a short walk away along Via Ottaviano.


Guide to Exploring St. Peter's Basilica


Top St. Peter's Basilica Hotel & Accommodation Deals

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Best Western Plus Hotel Spring House AU$132
Best Western Plus Hotel Spring House

Best Western Plus Hotel Spring House

Via Mocenigo 7, Rome, RM
     
    4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

    Located in the centre of Rome, this family-friendly hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Vatican Museums and Vatican Gardens. St. Peter's Square and Via Cola di Rienzo are also within 15 minutes. Cipro Station is 6 minutes by foot and Ottaviano - San Pietro - Musei Vaticani Station is 8 minutes.

    Hotel 87 Eighty-Seven - Maison D'Art Collection AU$98
    Hotel 87 Eighty-Seven - Maison D'Art Collection

    Hotel 87 Eighty-Seven - Maison D'Art Collection

    Via del Tritone 87-89, Rome, Rome
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      This family-friendly Rome hotel is located in the historical district, steps away from Via del Tritone, Via Veneto and Piazza Barberini. Piazza di Spagna and Trevi Fountain are also within 10 minutes. Barberini Station is only a 3-minute walk and Spagna Station is 7 minutes.

      Otivm Hotel AU$128
      Otivm Hotel

      Otivm Hotel

      Via D'Aracoeli, 11, Rome
         
        4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in Navona, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Piazza Venezia, Via del Corso and Roman Forum. National Monument to Victor Emmanuel II and Capitoline Museum are also within 5 minutes. Colosseo Station is 14 minutes by foot and Cavour Station is 15 minutes.

        Vatican Style Suite AU$106
        Vatican Style Suite

        Vatican Style Suite

        Via del Macherino 46, Rome, Lazio
           
          0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in Vatican, this guesthouse is within a 5-minute walk of Via Cola di Rienzo and St. Peter's Square. St. Peter's Basilica and Sistine Chapel are also within 10 minutes. Ottaviano - San Pietro - Musei Vaticani Station is 8 minutes by foot and Rome San Pietro Station is 15 minutes.

          Villa Agrippina Gran Meliá - The Leading Hotels of the World AU$644
          Villa Agrippina Gran Meliá - The Leading Hotels of the World

          Villa Agrippina Gran Meliá - The Leading Hotels of the World

          Via del Gianicolo 3, Rome, RM
             
            5.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            This family-friendly Rome hotel is located on the riverwalk, within a 10-minute walk of St. Peter's Square and Castel Sant'Angelo. Villa Farnesina and Piazza Navona are also within 15 minutes. Rome San Pietro Station is 12 minutes by foot and Ottaviano - San Pietro - Musei Vaticani Station is 18 minutes.

            VOI Donna Camilla Savelli Hotel AU$190
            VOI Donna Camilla Savelli Hotel

            VOI Donna Camilla Savelli Hotel

            Via Garibaldi 27, Rome, RM
               
              4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in Trastevere, this romantic hotel is within a 15-minute walk of Santa Maria in Trastevere, Campo de' Fiori and Corso Vittorio Emanuele II. Piazza Navona and Pantheon are also within 1 mile (2 km). Rome Quattro Venti Station is 22 minutes by foot and Rome San Pietro Station is 23 minutes.

              Rome Services Borgo Suites AU$47
              Rome Services Borgo Suites

              Rome Services Borgo Suites

              Borgo Vittorio, 85, Rome, Rome
                 
                0.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in Vatican, this townhouse accommodation is within a 10-minute walk of Via Cola di Rienzo, St. Peter's Square and St. Peter's Basilica. Castel Sant'Angelo and Sistine Chapel are also within 10 minutes. Ottaviano - San Pietro - Musei Vaticani Station is 9 minutes by foot and Cipro Station is 17 minutes.

                Hotel Sant' Anna AU$161
                Hotel Sant' Anna

                Hotel Sant' Anna

                via borgo pio 134, Rome, RM
                   
                  3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in Vatican, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Via Cola di Rienzo, St. Peter's Square and Castel Sant'Angelo. St. Peter's Basilica and Sistine Chapel are also within 10 minutes. Ottaviano - San Pietro - Musei Vaticani Station is 10 minutes by foot and Lepanto Station is 18 minutes.