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  • Address: Piazza san Pietro, Vatican City 00120, Italy
  • Hours: Open daily
  • Admission: Free

Rome ATTRACTIONS See all

St. Peter's Square Tours

The heart of Rome's Vatican City is St. Peter's Square, the grand space that provides a magnificent approach to St. Peter's Basilica. Designed by Bernini in the 17th century, Piazza San Pietro is lined by semicircular colonnades four columns deep on either side that seem to reach out and enfold visitors in an embrace. 

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.

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.

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. 

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.

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.

Tours & Tickets

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Skip-the-Line Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel Entrance Tickets, Rome, null
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 2

Skip-the-Line Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel Entrance Tickets

3 star rating: Worth doing 1 Review

Skip the line for the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel. Get in to visit the second largest Museum in the world with the most beautiful highlights and to ...  Read more

Location: Rome, Italy
Duration: 2 hours 18 minutes (approx.)

From USD $50.06
Papal Audience Tickets and Presentation, Rome, Skip-the-Line Tours
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 3

Papal Audience Tickets and Presentation

4.5 star rating: Recommended 1134 Reviews

See the pope and his cardinals deliver their weekly address in Vatican City with a ticket to the papal audience. Follow a local guide through the crowds to a ...  Read more

Location: Rome, Italy
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

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Papal Audience Ticket at Vatican City, Rome, Cultural Tours
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Papal Audience Ticket at Vatican City

4 star rating: Recommended 416 Reviews

Bookings are essential if you'd like to attend a Papal Audience with Pope Francis I at the Vatican. Tickets are free of charge but they are limited and you ...  Read more

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Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

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Early Access Vatican Museums Small-Group Tour with St. Peter’s and Sistine Chapel, Rome, Bus & ... 
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Early Access Vatican Museums Small-Group Tour with St. Peter’s and Sistine Chapel

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See the highlights of the world-famous Vatican Museums in one morning on this intimate, small-group Vatican walking tour! Starting early in the morning to beat ...  Read more

Location: Rome, Italy
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

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Private Early Bird Vatican and St Peter's Basilica Tour: Hotel Pick-up Drop-off, Rome, ... 
TVRM_SORTED : true ESSENTIAL : 1 ADMISSION : 5

Private Early Bird Vatican and St Peter's Basilica Tour: Hotel Pick-up Drop-off

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 43 Reviews

Explore the Vatican Museums and see the Sistine Chapel one hour before the general public with this private early-bird 4-hour tour. Venture into museums with ...  Read more

Location: Rome, Italy
Duration: 4 hours (approx.)

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Entire Vatican and Vatacombs: Heritage of Rome Tour, Rome, Private Sightseeing Tours
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Entire Vatican and Vatacombs: Heritage of Rome Tour

4.5 star rating: Recommended 169 Reviews

This comprehensive 3-hour Vatican tour includes Sistine Chapel, the extensive Vatican Museums and the ‘Vatacombs’ - the final resting place of many popes. ...  Read more

Location: Rome, Italy
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

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Private Vatican Hidden Gems Tour with Hotel Pick-up and Drop-off, Rome, Cultural Tours
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Private Vatican Hidden Gems Tour with Hotel Pick-up and Drop-off

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 30 Reviews

Enjoy this exclusively designed private tour of the stunning Vatican museums and its hidden gems - the second largest and the fifth most visited art museum in ...  Read more

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Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

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No Wait Dedicated Access: St Peter's Basilica Guided Tour, Rome, Private Sightseeing Tours
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No Wait Dedicated Access: St Peter's Basilica Guided Tour

4.5 star rating: Recommended 196 Reviews

See the best of St Peter's Basilica in Vatican City on a comprehensive 1.15-hour walking tour. Led by a knowledgeable Vatican guide, your tour starts with a ...  Read more

Location: Rome, Italy
Duration: Flexible

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Civitavecchia Shore Excursion: Independent Rome Day Trip, Rome, Skip-the-Line Tours
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Civitavecchia Shore Excursion: Independent Rome Day Trip

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When your cruise ship docks at the Civitavecchia port, embark on an independent shore excursion to Rome. Your private driver will pick you up and take you to ...  Read more

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Duration: 9 hours (approx.)

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Rome Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, St Peter's Basilica, Private Skip-the-Line, Rome, Ports of ... 
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Rome Vatican Museums, Sistine Chapel, St Peter's Basilica, Private Skip-the-Line

Join this 3-hour guided tour to see the magnificent highlights of the Vatican City. With your private guide, explore the Museum, one of the most extraordinary ...  Read more

Location: Rome, Italy
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

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