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

#2 in Best Things To Do in Rome
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Key Info

Piazza San Pietro

Price & Hours

Free
Hours vary seasonally

Details

Free, Churches/Religious Sites, Sightseeing Type
1 to 2 hours Time to Spend

scorecard

  • 5.0Value
  • 5.0Facilities
  • 5.0Atmosphere

The epicenter of Roman Catholicism, St. Peter's Basilica is centered in Vatican City and open daily for free. (Though it's closed on Wednesday mornings for pope appearances.) Many visitors enjoy trekking to the top of the dome. For a fee of 6 euros (about $7.50), you can climb the 551 steps to the summit; for a fee of 8 euros (about $10), you can take an elevator to a terrace where you'll climb just 320. Regardless, you'll take in a panorama of Rome's spectacular landscape. If you've come hoping to catch a glimpse of the pope, you should consider attending the Wednesday General Audience, when he address the crowd in St. Peter's Square with prayers and songs. It's free to attend, but tickets are required. You'll also want to make sure he is in residence; check the Vatican website to view the schedule. No ticket is required to see the pope on Sundays, when he usually address the crowd in St. Peter's Square at noon.

Keep in mind that this is an active church with daily Mass services. Likewise, a stringent dress code is enforced: No short skirts, hats or bare shoulders. And because St. Peter's Basilica is one of the area's major attractions, there is almost always a long queue – though it tends to go fast. Recent travelers recommend you spring for a tour guide; the depth of insight they bring to the basilica really makes the experience. For more information on tours, read our tips for visiting the Vatican and its attractions.

St. Peter's Basilica is open daily from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. between April and September, and every day from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. from October to March. To get here, visitors can take the metro line A (red) to the Ottaviano station. To learn more, visit the Vatican City State's website.

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#1 Trevi Fountain (Fontana di Trevi)

A must-see on many travelers' itineraries, the Trevi Fountain is situated amongst a high concentration of hotels, shopping and nightlife. Finished in the mid-1700s, the Trevi is a powerful example of a baroque design with a distinctly mythological character. The god of the sea, Oceanus, emerges from the pool, flanked by his trusty Tritons. The fountain underwent an extensive, mutlimillion euro restoration and reopened in its full splendor in November 2015.

According to Roman lore, throwing one, two or three coins into the Trevi, with your right hand over your left shoulder ensures you'll return to Rome; you'll fall in love with an attractive Roman; and you'll marry that same Roman.

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