About Skip the Line: St Peter's Basilica Walking Tour
See the best of St Peter's Basilica in Vatican City on a comprehensive 1.5-hour walking tour. Led by a knowledgeable Vatican guide, your tour starts with a leisurely walk around St Peter's Square, before continuing into St Peter's Basilica with a priority-access ticket. As you walk, hear tales of the popes, pilgrims and legendary artists who, throughout history, have helped make St Peter's Basilica the awe-inspiring place it is today.
Numbers are limited to 20 people on this St Peter's Basilica tour, ensuring you'll enjoy a more personalized experience.
Often regarded as the holiest site in Christendom, St Peter's Square marks the heart of Vatican City -- Rome's famous papal enclave. Designed by Baroque architect Gian Lorenzo Bernini, the distinctive square is flanked on either side by a stone colonnade, said to represent Christ's open arms symbolically welcoming the world into the Catholic Church.
Your small-group tour starts in the square, and as you walk over from the colonnade to the terrace in front of the church, your guide will tell you tales of Bernini, whose work had so much impact on the Vatican as you see it today. See several sites of significance, including the northern fountain, created by Bernini in 1975, and the impressive obelisk that dates back to 13th-century BC Egypt.
Next, leave St Peter's Square and head inside the tour’s main attraction -- St Peter's Basilica. Reputedly built on the very ground where St Peter the Apostle was crucified, the church started out as a humble chapel to which Christian pilgrims flocked.
Over time, the church has evolved to become as ornate as it is sacred, home to priceless works of Baroque and Renaissance art. After skipping the long lines, head straight in and gaze up in wonder at the incredible cupolone -- the church’s dome -- created by colorful Renaissance sculptor Michelangelo. You'll also see his beautiful La Pietà sculpture, as well as various mosaic works.
Stop at the statue of St Peter and kiss or rub his foot for a blessing, before walking over to the tomb of Pope John Paul II. As you continue through the church, your guide will show you Bernini’s lavish, bronze canopy altar, known as the baldacchino. Positioned right in the center of the building, the altar marks the tomb of St Peter underneath.
Your tour finishes in St Peter's Basilica, where you can stay if you want to spend more time exploring this sacred place independently.