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  • Address: Piazza San Pietro
  • Hours: April-September 8am-6pm; October-March 8am-5pm
  • Admission: €7 for elevator, €5 for stairs

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St Peter's Dome

What may be the most recognizable feature of Italy doesn't technically stand on Italian soil. Rather, St Peter's Dome belongs to the Bramante-designed St Peter's Basilica in the city-state of the Vatican. Dubbed as the highest dome building in the world as well as the grandest building in Christendom, the basilica’s dome is not only an iconic piece of architecture, but also a symbol for Catholics around the world. With that said, the construction of the dome, like Rome itself, wasn't built overnight.

The ground work for the entire basilica was laid in 1506 by famed Roman architect Donato Bramante and was later passed on to successors such as Raphael. But, using the ideas and designs of previous architects, it was Michelangelo that pushed forward a large section of the dome. When he passed, he left behind the drum for the dome and a wooden carving for his assistant to continue his work. In the end, it was Giacomo della Porta and Domenico Fontana, under the appointment of Pope Sixtus V, who saw the completion of the dome in 1590.

The idea behind the dome was to ensure it was the most grand in the Christian world.  Thus, the design was met with the challenge of outdoing similar buildings like the cathedral in Florence and St. Mark's Basilica in Venice. In the end, at 446 feet (136 meters) high, it is the highest dome in the world.

Practical Info

St. Peter's Basilica is open to the public seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. in the winter and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the summer months. The entrance to the dome, which tourists may climb or visit using the elevator, is at the portico of the basilica. The closest Metro station is Ottaviano.

Tours & Tickets

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Skip the Line: Vatican Museums Small-Group Tour including Sistine Chapel and St Peter's Basilica

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 909 Reviews

See the highlights of the world-famous Vatican Museums in one morning on this intimate, small-group Vatican walking tour! Starting early in the morning to beat ...  Read more

Location: Rome, Italy
Duration: 3 hours (approx.)

From USD $117.16

Skip the Line: St Peter's Basilica Walking Tour

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 93 Reviews

See the best of St Peter's Basilica in Vatican City on a comprehensive 1.15-hour walking tour. Led by a knowledgeable Vatican guide, your tour starts with a ...  Read more

Location: Rome, Italy
Duration: Varies

From USD $21.93

Skip the Line: St Peter's Basilica Walking Tour Including views from the Top of the Cupola

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 35 Reviews

Skip the line to St Peter's Basilica with a guided walking tour and a visit to the cupola. Ride an elevator to the cupola and admire the mosaic designs of ...  Read more

Location: Rome, Italy
Duration: 2 hours (approx.)

From USD $56.39

Skip the Line: St Peter's Basilica Walking Tour Including Vatican Mosaic Studio

5 star rating: Highly Recommended 11 Reviews

Walk through the heart of Vatican City and the 16th-century Mosaic Studio (Studio del Mosaico). You’ll meet the studio director and artists who work to restore ...  Read more

Location: Rome, Italy
Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes (approx.)

From USD $75.18

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