St. Peter's Basilica

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Piazza San Pietro, Vatican City, Italy

St. Peter's Basilica Vatican City Reviews

Vikram Vikram
245 reviews
Religious or not, Christian or not, tourist or not, you've JUST got to see this place! May 19, 2014
To say that this is your average Cathedral, as some folks would say, is a JOKE. It's not only one of the most sacred sites for Christians, but one of the Vatican's tourist mainstays and places of worship.

So what is it in a nutshell? Well, the basilica is the burial site of its namesake Saint Peter, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus who also happened to be the first Pope and Bishop of Rome. Supposedly, Saint Peter's tomb is directly below the altar of the basilica (and I have a picture to prove it!).

The day we chose was brilliant - lovely grey and pink'ish skies. And we got there really early, like 830a or so and the Basilica wasn't open yet. Security were getting the barricades and luggage scanners ready. Whilst waiting for it to open, I was taking photos of the famed colonnades, the statues of various religious heads, etc. Once we were let in, our first order of the day was headed to the dome. We took the lift to a certain portion, got down at the terrace and then continued on by staircase to the very top of the dome. The views were quite spectacular mostly because of how early it was (Rome was yet to wake up), and as mentioned before, the grey/pink skies. Brilliant!

I definitely want to call out the moment you enter the dome and you come as close as you can to the really colourful ceiling. And seeing the main alter from down below is simply stunning.

After about 30 minutes here, came back to the terrace to take photos of the main Square from the top. You could see the crowds trickling in! And finally went INSIDE the Basilica.

God this is beautiful! As mentioned, there are several sites that give reviews of what this but the ones that stood out to me were the Pietra statue, the tomb of St. Peter's (I didn't know what it was, rather, didn't recognise it till I got up close), but mostly to me, it was all about the really ornate and colourful marble panels, walls and the murals.

A highlight was visiting the quiet prayer area in the Basilica. This was welcome because I'll warn you, this place gets noisy. There are several freelance guides in addition to the big arse tourist groups so all you see are the tour guide umbrellas and badges, etc. so be prepared for that.

All in all, I know this place gets talked a lot about, but it's so worth the hype. I really would encourage anyone to visit here, and as I say in my title - if nothing else, to marvel at its history, its power and its reach.

One of mankind's BEST.
The interiors with rich marble work
Colonnade of St. Peter's Basilica …
View of the Square at 8am in the m…
St. Peter's Square (Maderno's foun…
9 / 9 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
joseph98 says:
Probably the best Cathedral I've ever visited, and I've seen quite a few. Great review Vikram!
Posted on: Jul 05, 2014
Vikram says:
Posted on: Jun 30, 2014
cimtech says:
Well done !
Posted on: Jun 30, 2014
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AhmadA AhmadA
2 reviews
St. Peter's Basilica Sep 23, 2014
St. Peter's Basilica, one of the most amazing places i have ever seen in my entire life.

You will find a Museum in every corner, where ever you look, your will will drop on a piece of Art.

I am not this kind of people who like architecture or Arts that much, but what i have seen there is mind blowing.

if you are there you have to visit the Sistine chapel and Vatican Museum as well.

This place should be on anyone's Top list whatever your religion is

Tip: for the Musuem and Sistine Chapel, try to book tickets online to avoid the long queue
St. Peter's Basilica
Sistine chapel
Zagnut66 Zagnut66
110 reviews
St. Peter's Basilica Mar 06, 2013
The line to get through the security checkpoint with the metal detectors was quite long, but moved surprisingly fast. I was inside the basilica wthin fifteen minutes. There is a coat check area with bathrooms to the right of the main entrance. It is free to enter and wander about, though if you want to go up to the cupola there was an 8 Euro charge. One side chapel is reserved for prayer and Eucharistic adoration for Catholics, with curtains separating it from the nave. Photography and talking are not permitted in this chapel.

I can imagine some people might be put off by the opulence of the basilica, others impressed with its magnificent evocation of the divine. Whatever your take, it's worth a visit to if only to marvel at the art and architecture. The altar by Bernini was roped off to the public, though you can get close enough to take some good photographs. There are special tours of the catacombs that must be booked weeks in advance (which, of course, I didn't do). A highlight of my trip to Rome.
Outside the entrance
I think only the pope goes through…
Bernini's altar
Who let this sinner in?
9 / 9 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
Andy99 Andy99
579 reviews
The Church of St. Peter Sep 28, 2012
"St. Peter's is the largest and most imposing, if not the most beautiful, church in the world" stated the Baedeker travel guides before World War I. That's a pretty accurate description! St. Peter's Basilica is vast. One really is not aware how immensely large it is until standing next to it or in it. The dome can be seen from all parts of Rome and appears to be nearby.

The present St. Peter's is the second on the site of what was the Circus of Nero in Roman times. Christians were martyred in the Circus, the Apostle Peter among them. The first basilica was built in the 4th century over the site where Peter was said to have been buried. By the 15th century the church was in disrepair and the decision was made to rebuild it. The foundation was laid in 1506 and the new church was built around the old one. (The old church was dismantled as construction progressed and only one monument from it remains.)

All of the famous artists of the Renaissance had a hand in its design--Bramante, Raphael, Michelangelo, Della Porta, and Bernini among them. Often, with opposing ideas! Perhaps the most famous architectural feature is the dome designed by Michelangelo and completed by Della Porta. New St. Peter's was completed and consecrated in 1626.

Visitors do have an idea of eh scale when stepping inside the nave. It is 730 feet (220 m) long. This is larger than any other church, attested to by markings in the floor indicating the relative length of other major churches. (The Basilica Shrine of he Immaculate Conception in Washington, DC, is among those marked here.)

The visitor is carried away by the size! But there is a lot to see here. To the immediate right of the entrance is Michelangelo's Pieta, one of the most exquisite of all sculptures and completed when the artist was only 24. Many other monuments and tombs can be seen as one makes one's way around the church. My favorite moment was standing under the dome, 136 feet (41.5 m) high, with the seven foot lettering of "Tu es Petrus..." encircling it. A breathtaking travel moment.

It is possible to climb up the inside dome and to take a tour of the crypt to see Peter's tomb. (We did not do these.)

Lines can be long to enter the church. A strategy is to enter from the Vatican Museums where there is no line. Visitors should be aware of the dress code--no shorts or very short skirts are permitted.

Interior photography is permitted.

Part of the Vatican City UNESCO World Heritage Site.
St. Peter's Basilica in the morning
Nave of St. Peter's Basilica
Pietà by Michelangelo
Pietà by Michelangelo
7 / 7 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
christine4321 says:
Well written, thanks for taking the time to write about it!
Posted on: Apr 29, 2013
simsing says:
Congrats on the feature, Andy!
Posted on: Nov 22, 2012
monky says:
Congrats on your featured review Andy!:)
Posted on: Nov 22, 2012
Vipin Vipin
691 reviews
Must see church, indescribable May 08, 2011
Perhaps the most famous church in Rome and arguably within the Christian faith, St Peter’s is an eye dropping church to visit. No building in Rome can be higher than it. The site has a long pedigree. It is the burial place of Saint Peter and has continually been embellished. Perhaps the most recent developments have shaped much of what is in front of us today - Bernini and his equally famous architect friends from the seventeenth century are responsible for the grand renaissance and baroque style you see today.

The church is synonymous with key events. Most recently, Pope John Paul II was beatified here (and he has been placed to rest on the ground floor, right next door to Michelangelo’s Pieta). The light dazzles from the domes in the most beautiful fashion, and no expense has been spared for the grandeur and decadence on show here.

Although the opening hours are generous, I recommend visiting during Sunday afternoons when the crowds are lightest and it is possible to attend mass.

Highly highly recommended.
4 / 4 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
Vipin Vipin
691 reviews
Unparalleled church Feb 20, 2010
In a country that is full of amazing Christian churches, St Peter’s Basilica really tops them all. It has to be one of the famous, if not the most famous, in all of Christendom.

The queues are amazingly long for this church, no matter what time of year it is. I recommend Sunday afternoons, as the worst of the crowds seems to have dispersed around then.

No expense or effort has been spared inside, and the marble work and stunning art will take your breath away. The dome is very impressive too, and you can go up to the top for several euros. I think it is best viewed from outside though, or even near the River Tiber to see the whole thing.

I have visited a lot of churches in Italy and this really remains the one to beat. There is just nothing like it. Again, if you need to shorten your sightseeing down, make sure this stays on the list!
Africancrab Africanc…
773 reviews
Sacred and Religious Destinations in Italy Aug 15, 1998
Considered one of the top religious destinations of the world, the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome is the epitome of sacred places. Revered by many through the years, it is the seat of the papacy. The place of worship for millions of Catholics. It is the seat of the head of the number one religion of the world (Catholicism). Located in Vatican City, and enclave of Rome, also considered an independent city, it was up until recently the largest church ever built. It remains the holiest site of Christianity. As a catholic, I grew up wishing that I would one day go to Rome and meet the pope. My pope was Pope John Paul II, was passed away not too long ago. During his reign, it seemed the Catholic church was more faithful, or so it seemed. Every Catholic wishes they could go to Rome someday.

I visited Rome in the summer of 1998 with my then fiancee', Peter. We were on a 12 country tour that summer and had made it through the country driving from the North to the South. By the time we arrived in Rome, we were ready for a bit of rest and big city food. We entered the city at about 9:30 am and decided to go check in to our hotel. The hotel was happy to give us an early check in and allow us breakfast. I was so excited about going to the Basilica that I, did not finish my breakfast. Peter on the other hand had been to St. Peter's church many times seeing as he was an architect.

The site on which the church stands is the place of burial where St. Peter was laid to rest. St. Peter was believed to be the first Pope. St. Peter's tomb is under the alter inside the Basilica, while other popes who have reign through the years have their tombs under the Basilica. The history of the Basilica dates back to the reign of Constantine. Originally founded by Constantine in 324, St. Peter's Basilica was rebuilt in the 16th century by Renaissance masters including Bramante, Michelangelo and Bernini.

In the ancient, it is recorded that the Circus of Nero was hosted right where the Basilica stands now. It is during this circus that St. Peter was martyred and buried close by. His followers and many faithful believers continued to visit his tomb for many years after his death. In 324 emperor Constantine began the construction of the church on the site where St. Peter was buried. Today, St. Peter's tomb is still the central focus and thus the name St. Peter's Basilica.

Highly recommended. The church is an architectural achievement of it's time. It also collects some of the world's most worldly possessions like gold, silver, precious stones, art pieces etc. Because of this, the church feels more like a giant museum that attracts millions of visitors each year. I must say as a believer, I was disappointed because I did not feel like I was on holy ground when I was inside the church. It felt like being inside a museum with the most beautiful paintings, a rich history, sacred tombs, precious stones and jewelery. I do not want to discourage believers, I just did not feel like I was on the world's number one holy site.
A view of the Square from ontop of…
3 / 3 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
Africancrab says:
A week in Rome might turn out to be monotonous. Much of the main attractions be be seen in 2 days.
Posted on: Nov 07, 2010
Mark184 says:
I'm going to have to spend a week in Rome when I make it! Lots to do and this is one of the places I'd love to see.
Posted on: Nov 07, 2010

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