St. Peter's Basilica (Basilica di San Pietro) in Rome, Italy, is one of the most iconic and awe-inspiring places of worship in the world. Built by the Catholic Church in the 16th century, the basilica is the largest church in the world and has been a pilgrimage site for centuries. It is a place of history, art, and faith, and is a must-see for any traveler to Rome. Here are 10 things to do in St. Peter’s Basilica to make the most of your visit.
1. Admire the Exterior of the Basilica
The façade of St. Peter’s Basilica is a marvel of Baroque architecture. Designed by Carlo Maderno, it features two bell towers and a large central portico, all of which are decorated with intricate sculptures and reliefs. Take some time to admire the façade and the stunning details that make it so unique.
2. Visit the Tomb of St. Peter
The Basilica is the burial site of St. Peter, the first pope and one of the 12 apostles of Jesus Christ. The tomb is located beneath the main altar and is marked by a bronze sculpture of St. Peter. It is a popular site for religious pilgrims and a reminder of the long history of the Catholic Church.
3. Explore the Interior of the Basilica
The interior of the basilica is a masterpiece of Renaissance and Baroque architecture. It features intricate marble floors, frescoed walls, and a soaring ceiling. Take some time to explore the nave and admire the many works of art that adorn the walls and ceilings.
4. Climb the Dome
One of the most popular activities in St. Peter’s Basilica is to climb the dome. The dome, which was designed by Michelangelo, rises to a height of 136 meters and offers stunning views of Rome. The climb is not for the faint of heart, but it is certainly worth the effort.
5. Visit the Vatican Grottoes
The Vatican Grottoes are located beneath the basilica and are the burial site of many past popes. The grottoes are decorated with statues, frescoes, and mosaics, and are a popular destination for visitors.
6. Admire the Pietà
The Pietà is one of the most famous works of art in the world. Located in the first chapel on the right of the nave, it is a marble sculpture of the Virgin Mary cradling the body of Jesus Christ. It was created by Michelangelo and is considered to be one of his greatest masterpieces.
7. Visit the Vatican Necropolis
The Vatican Necropolis is an underground cemetery located beneath the basilica. It is the burial site of many ancient Romans, including St. Peter. It is an interesting and unique place to visit and a reminder of the city’s long history.
8. Attend a Papal Mass
The Basilica is the site of many papal masses and other religious ceremonies. If you’re in town during one of these events, it is a great opportunity to experience the majesty and grandeur of the Catholic Church.
9. Explore the Vatican Gardens
The Vatican Gardens are located just outside the basilica and are a great place to take a stroll. The gardens are filled with sculptures, fountains, and other works of art, and provide a peaceful respite from the hustle and bustle of the city.
10. Visit the Vatican Museum
The Vatican Museum is located just across the street from the basilica and is home to some of the world’s most famous works of art. It is a must-see for any traveler to Rome and is a great way to spend an afternoon.
St. Peter’s Basilica is an iconic and awe-inspiring place of worship. Whether you’re a religious pilgrim or just a curious traveler, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this beautiful and historic building. From admiring the exterior to exploring the Vatican Necropolis, these 10 things to do in St. Peter’s Basilica are sure to make your visit to Rome unforgettable.