Local name: Basilica di San Pietro

It is an intriguing climb, and it can get busy. But once you are on the roof, you have a magnificent view over the whole of Rome and St Peter’s Square in front of you.The mountains are an impressive backdrop.

Inside you can also see the entire church, including the famous dome. The early morning or late afternoon are best for taking photographs, when the light is soft.

About St Peter’s Basilica

St. Peter’s Basilica is an important site for pilgrimages by the Roman Catholic faithful. Once, it was the Circus of Nero, where Saint Peter, the apostle (and first Pope) is supposed to be buried. The first basilica was built in 324. But because of its poor construction it collapsed, after which the current basilica was built between 1506 and 1626.

The basilica is a cruciform shape, with a nave that has a Latin cross form. So far, 148 popes are buried in the church , including Pope John Paul II. In addition, there are various relics of Saint Peter. Also special is the Pietà, a famous sculpture by Michelangelo (who was 24 years old when he made it). You can find it close to the entrance, to the right (behind glass).

You enter the basilica through the world-famous St Peter’s Square (Piazza San Pietro). The design of the square is by Gian Lorenzo Bernini, considered by many experts to be sublime because it naturally leads you towards the church. Saint Peter’s Square was built between 1656 and 1667. It is 240 meters wide and 340 meters long. There are two colonnades encircling the square, symbolising the ‘maternal arms of mother church’. There is a 25.5-metre obelisk in the centre of the square from ancient Egypt. There are also various fountains.

Cathedrals Churches