St. Peter’s Basilica from Top to Bottom with Dome Climb & Crypt
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Immerse yourself in the history, architecture and lore of St. Peter’s Basilica with this all-access tour. Not only will you enjoy a full guided tour of the Basilica and Papal Crypt (not usually included Basilica and Vatican tours) with an expert guide, you will avoid long lines to climb up into the titanic dome early in the morning, and gape at the amazing views of Rome.
Our guide to St. Peter’s Basilica from Top to Bottom with Dome Climb & Crypt
St. Peter’s Basilica is the most important church in Christendom and this is the most complete tour of the Basilica available. From the heights of the immense dome to the depths of the Papal Crypt and all the fantastic art in between, you will explore every corner of this amazing church and come away in even more awe of it’s grandeur than when you started.
Your tour starts early, before the crowds arrive. After exploring St Peter’s Square and seeing the Swiss Guard, you will head for St. Peter’s Basilica dome. You and your intimate group of 15 people or fewer will take the special elevator to the first terrace of the Dome to admire the beautiful mosaics up close as your guide points out details you might otherwise miss.
To reach the top of the dome you have to climb 231 steps (there’s no elevator) but the view alone is worth the effort. In fact, it’s the single best view of Rome, stretching from St Peter’s Square across the Tiber and beyond.
When you come down from the dome your expert guide will lead you on a full tour of the Basilica, from Bernini’s colossal baldachin to Michelangelo’s heart-wrenching Pietá. You will also discover the small details, stories, history and lore that are packed into every nook and cranny of this nearly 400-year-old building, including why everyone is so intent on rubbing the foot of a certain statue.
Finally your tour will include a rare visit to the Papal Crypt where your guide will point out the most significant tombs. It’s forbidden to speak inside the Crypt (it’s a sacred site) but before you enter, your guide will tell you the stories of the men buried in them.
2 hours 30 minutes
Terms and conditions
Terms and conditions for St. Peter’s Basilica from Top to Bottom with Dome Climb & Crypt
- You will receive a voucher for this experience. Please read it thoroughly.
- Gratuities to guides are appreciated but never obligatory.
- Comfortable walking shoes are recommended.
- Please note that the tour meeting time is 15 minutes prior to the start time. No refunds or re-bookings can be provided for late arrivals or no-shows after tour commencement or departure.
- Please note, this tour is wheelchair accessible with some difficulties. Please get in touch with us to make further arrangements.
- Please remember that St. Peter's Basilica is a holy place and attire must be appropriate for the visit. Both men and women are asked to wear clothing that covers at least the shoulders and knees. Walks of Italy cannot be held responsible for being denied entry due to improper dress.
- St. Peter's Basilica is subject to unforeseen closures due to Vatican affairs. In the event that this happens, Walks of Italy will contact you as soon as possible to reschedule. In the rare case that the tombs are closed we will spend extra time in St. Peter's Basilica and Square.
- Small bags and umbrellas are permitted inside the Basilica. However, large bags, pointy umbrellas and objects must be left at the bag check situated at the entrance of St. Peter’s Basilica, next to the official audio-guides desk.
- Please note that skip-the-line access is not possible at the dome or at St. Peters Basilica's security line (although it is possible for guests entering via the Vatican Museums, who use a different door), so you may need to spend some time in unavoidable queues. Your guide will use the time well, entertaining you with stories and pointing out the incredible details of St. Peter's Square.
- Unfortunately, we are unable to accommodate guests with strollers on this tour.
- Please ensure that all members of your party have a valid ID on them on the day of the visit. This is particularly important for guests who have qualified for child reduction.
- Cancellation policy: Cancellations received greater than 72 hours prior to tour commencement are fully refundable. Cancellations received within 72 hours of tour commencement are non-refundable. Amendment requests are subject to availability and price changes.
Frequently Asked Questions for St. Peter’s Basilica from Top to Bottom with Dome Climb & Crypt
Does St. Peter's Basilica have a dress code?
Yes, although you aren't expected to dress as formally as if you were attending a mass. Unless you actually are attending a mass. The most important rule is NO SHORTS, that applies to both men and women. Shoulders must also be covered, so no tank tops. Small bags and umbrellas are permitted inside but large bags have to be checked at the entrance, next to the official audio-guides desk.