St. Peter’s Basilica is one of the most beautiful churches in the world, and it’s definitely worth a visit. Besides the fact that it contains the beautiful La Pietà, Michelangelo’s famous marble sculpture, the entire church is home to a plethora of beautiful art. While you’re visiting the Basilica, did you know that you can also climb St. Peter’s Dome too?
How to Climb St. Peter’s Dome
You definitely should! We have even arranged a special tour dedicated to St. Peter’s Basilica and it’s a jaw-dropping dome. Our new Ultimate St. Peter’s Basilica Dome Climb is the perfect tour for those who want the full St. Peter’s experience. Want to get a guided tour of the Vatican as well? Check out our Complete Vatican Combo Tour with Sistine Chapel & Dome Climb.
If you want to climb St. Peter’s Dome on your own this article will be your guide to reaching your goal! We’ll start with the quick step-by-step guide on how to climb it and then explain with more insights.
6 Steps to Climbing St. Peter’s Dome – Pun Intended!
Step 1: Avoid Wednesdays
Don’t plan on climbing the Dome of St. Peter’s Basilica on Wednesday. The Papal Audience takes place on Wednesday which could complicate things.
Step2: Get There Early
Get to the St. Peter’s Square early. We recommend 8 am so you won’t have to wait in a long security line or in a line to climb the dome.
Step 3: Pass Through Security
Enter the Basilica by going through security which is located in the right-hand side colonnades as you enter the square. You’ll see some fencing and metal detectors. Don’t worry, you can’t miss it.
Step 4: Find the Entrance to the Dome
When you walk up the stairs to go inside the Basilica, walk inside the largest archway, and look straight ahead. You’ll see an area on the right-hand side of the Basilica with some fences. If you arrive at 8 am, there should be no lines but you will see visible signage that refers to climbing the Dome.
Step 5: Take the Elevator
Pay for the elevator! It only costs about 4€ extra, 10€ total, to take an elevator most of the way up. You’ll bypass a few hundred of the 551 steps which will make your visit less exhausting.
Step 6: Enjoy the View!
Enjoy the view at the top! After you take the elevator and walk up the steps, you’ll find yourself at the top. Take lots of great photos and enjoy your time. There is even a bar to get coffee on top of the Basilica!
We offer two tours that climb the St. Peter’s Basilica with a licensed guide. The first only visits the Basilica but includes the papal tombs below (not St. Peter’s tomb). The second tour is a combination of the first tour and a Vatican Museums tour. This way you can visit the dome and see the Vatican museums and Sistine Chapel.
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Where is St. Peter’s Dome and How Built it?
Where is St. Peter’s Dome?
The St. Peter’s Dome is easy to find. Just head to the famous St. Peter’sBasilica and you’re there! Once you get to St Peter’s and have gone through the security gates, face the church. You will see there are a few entrances you can walkthrough. To the right, you will see an entrance with a green sign that says “Dome Entrance”. From there, follow the arrows to the ticket kiosk.
*If you’ve just taken a Vatican Tour and ended at St. Peter’s Basilica, this is the perfect activity to finish off your Vatican experience. Especially because, if you’re on our tour, you’d of skipped the lines and security gates, and can simply head straight to the dome!
Who Built St. Peter’s Dome?
Short Answer: Michelangelo built the Dome and Donato Bramante designed the Basilica below which supports the dome.
Check out our article St. Peter’s Basilica: Facts & History to get more info on the Dome and it’s construction.
St. Peter’s Dome Hours
St. Peter’s Dome is open to visitors all day, but closing times do change slightly depending on the seasons.
- 1st April – 30th September: 8 a.m. – 7 p.m.
- 1st October – 31st March: 8 a.m. – 6 p.m.
How to get Tickets to Climb St. Peter’s Dome
If you’re not interested in a guided tour, you can purchase your tickets to the dome at the ticket kiosk. As mentioned above, the entrance is to the right of St. Peter’s Basilica, and following the arrows, you will reach the little ticket kiosk.
You have two choices with different prices:
- On Foot for €6: This is the cheaper option, where you climb 551 steps in total, to the top. If you enjoy some physical activity, go for this option. It is a great walk and gets exciting as you start nearing the top of the dome and the passages get narrower and narrower. There is also something rewarding about climbing all those stairs, and reaching the top for the ultimate view!
- With Elevator + A Few Steps for €10: This is slightly more expensive, as you get to swoop up the majority of the climb in a modern-day capsule! If you are unable to walk a lot of stairs, or just don’t feel like the climb, opt for this option! You still walk a few stairs for the last part of the journey!
Please note: The ticket office does not take cards, so be sure to bring cash with you! If you go all the way into St. Peters and don’t have cash, you will need to leave St Peter’s to draw money, and re-enter through security all over again.
I Want More Italy!
- Check out our YouTube video and step-by-step guide about how to visit the Vatican. If you’d rather let us guide you, check out our Vatican tours.
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