Reminiscent of an elegant Italian cathedral, Saints Peter and Paul Church is right at home in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood (known also as the city’s Little Italy.) Its iconic twin spires stand tall over Washington Square Park, which is at the heart of the area. Sometimes called “La cattedrale d'Italia ovest," or "The Italian Cathedral of the West,” it has become the cultural hub for Italian-Americans in the city.
The architectural details of the church tell much of its story. True to its name, there are images of both Saints Peter and Paul along with Jesus Christ. Its main altar was carved from 40 tons of marble. The façade is adorned with a quote from Dante’s Paradiso.
Mass is given in English, Italian, and Chinese, and on occasion even in Latin — a reflection of the neighborhood’s demographic. Famously Joe DiMaggio was pictured outside the church after his marriage to Marilyn Monroe. The Romanesque-style church is an icon of North Beach and for many, the city of San Francisco.
Saints Peter and Paul church is located in San Francisco’s North Beach area, in front of Washington Square Park. It is within walking distance from Fisherman’s Wharf. While in the neighborhood, be sure to check out some of the great Italian bakeries and shops that North Beach is famous for.