St. Peter’s Basilica
Where St. Peter’s now stands was once a chariot racing stadium, built in the time of the Emperor Caligula, Claudius and Nero (40-65). That was the first century of our era. Nero was the Emperor who began the first great persecution of Christians in Rome. Under his rule of terror, many Christians were imprisoned and put to death here in the newly completed stadium (“Circus” in Latin).
This non-profit site is the largest source of online information for St Peter’s Basilica
Open every day:
From October 1- March 31: 7:00 – 18:30
From April 1 – September 30: 7:00 – 19:00
Entry to the Basilica is free.
Holy Mass Saint Peter’s Basilica
Weekdays: 8:30 – 9:00 – 10:00 – 11:00 – 12:00 – 17:00 (in Latin)
Holidays: 9:00 – 10:30 (in Latin) – 11:30 – 12:15 – 13:00 – 16:00 – 17:45
Every Sunday at 12.00 in Saint Peter’s Square (when the Pope is in Rome)
Peter's Tomb Afterwards, some of his friends took Peter’s body and buried it in the nearest cemetery. That was just outside and to the right of the stadium. The tomb of Peter is still there, underneath the front of the Papal Altar and about 20 ft. below the floor level of the basilica.
This is probably the world’s most famous sculpture of a religious subject. Michelangelo carved it when he was 24 years old, and it is the only one he ever signed. The beauty of its lines and expression leaves a lasting impression on everyone. With this magnificent statue Michelangelo has given us a highly spiritual and Christian view of human suffering. Michelangelo, on the other hand, created a highly supernatural feeling. As she holds Jesus’ lifeless body on her lap, the Virgin’s face emanates sweetness, serenity and a majestic acceptance of this immense sorrow, combined with her faith in the Redeemer. The words may be those of the “Salve Regina” or “Sub tuum presidium” or another prayer. After Peter’s Tomb, the Pietà Chapel is the most frequently visited and silent place in the entire basilica.
Tomb of St John Paul II
Chapel of St. Sebastian contains the altar of St. Sebastian,under the altar are the remains of Pope St John Paul II, which were moved to the chapel in 2011.
On April 27th 2014, he was canonized as St. John Paul II. The Latin inscription on the altar frontal reads: Joannes Paulus PP. II. The “P.P.” means “Pope and Pontiff”.
Cupola ( Dome)
Michelangelo’s famous dome is accessed from an elevator to the roof (€10), a walk inside the dome (great view into the basilica), and then 320 steps to the best view of Rome.
With lift: € 10,00 (320 steps)
No lift: € 8,00 (551 steps)
Apr-Sep 8:00-17:45, Oct-Mar 8:00-16:45.
Colonnades & 140 Statues The Colonnades consist of 284 Doric columns and 88 pilasters of travertine marble.
These columns, 13m. tall, are arranged in four rows. With the trabeation surmounted by a balustrade, the overall height is 21 mt. Bernini built two straight covered wings (Charlemagne left, Constantine right) 120 m. long, to link with the basilica’s façade.
Facade of St. Peter's Basilica
St. Peter's Basilica was designed by Michelangelo, Donato Bramante, Gian Lorenzo Bernini and Carlo Maderno and is the most famous work of Renaissance architecture and the largest church in the world. While it is neither the mother church of the Catholic Church nor the cathedral of the diocese of Rome, the new pope is announced from the central balcony, called the loggia of blessings, with “Habemus Papum” and gives the blessing of Urbi et Orbi
Fountain of St Peter’s Basilica by Carlo Maderno
The ancient Roman aqueduct the Aqua Traiana was rebuilt by Pope Paul V and renamed the Acqua Paola; the restored aqueduct provided the fountain with a much more abundant source of water. The architect Carlo Maderno, was given the commission to redesign the fountain. He built a new octagonal base for the fountain on top of which he built a large irregular basin, decorated with steps and small columns, to hold the water. He kept the large lower stone vasque of the old fountain, and ornamented the pedestal above it with four stone scrolls.
Papal audience In Saint Peter’s Square, or Paul VI Audience Hall, or the Courtyard of the summer Papal Residence in Castel Gandolfo (usually in August)Entry: Free (by reservation only) Hours: Every Wednesday at 10:00 Reservations: Write to the “Prefettura della Casa Pontificia, 00120 Città del Vaticano” or send request by fax: +39 06 69885863Ticket Collection: by the bronze door located after the metal detectors. Tickets can be picked up either the day before, between 15:00 and 19:00, or on the day of the event, between 7:30 and 10:00