The monumental bronze canopy of St. Peter’s Baldachin, set beneath Michelangelo’s dome, is a centerpiece of St. Peter's Basilica. Bernini’s stunning bronze masterpiece soars as high as a 9-story building above the basilica's high altar, protecting the spot where St. Peter is said to be buried. The Basics
To view St. Peter’s Basilica, an important repository of art and sculpture, opt for a guided tour to learn about the baldachin and other works, including Michelangelo’s Pietà
, Bernini’s equestrian statue of Constantine, and the ubiquitous mosaics. Book an early or evening entrance or skip-the-line tour to avoid a wait to enter this popular Rome attraction. Combine a visit with St. Peter’s Dome above and the Vatacombs (papal tombs) below, or join an extended Vatican tour.Things to Know Before You Go
How to Get There
- You must pass through a security check to access the basilica—banned items include pocketknives, corkscrews, and umbrellas.
- Your shoulders and knees must be covered to enter St. Peter’s Basilica.
- The basilica’s interiors and St. Peter’s Baldachin are accessible to wheelchair users.
- Photography without flash is allowed inside the basilica.
St. Peter’s Basilica is located on St. Peter’s Square (Piazza San Pietro) in Vatican City. The closest metro station is Ottaviano.When to Get There
St. Peter’s Basilica is open to the public daily. Early morning and late afternoon are the best times to visit, when the crowds are thinner and wait times to enter shorter.
The Inauspicious Beginnings of St. Peter’s Baldachin
Bernini’s design for St. Peter’s Baldachin (Baldacchino di San Pietro), commissioned by Pope Urban VIII, called for so much bronze that the Pantheon’s beams were melted down—upsetting the Romans. It spurred the pun "Quod non fecerunt barbari, fecerunt Barberini," or "What the barbarians didn’t do, the Barberini did," an allusion to the pope’s family name of Barberini. The 24-year-old sculptor’s project eventually proved a success, even with the Romans.