Basilica di San Pietro or St.Peter’s Basilica of Rome is an Italian Renaissance church built within the Vatican City. As soon as you walk down the street towards the Vatican, this is what you see ahead as well as the dome top. One of the holiest shrines designed, it is said to be “the greatest of all churches of Christendom”. But even if you are not following religion; the Vatican City has much to offer from a design and architectural standpoint as well as it being easy on the eyes. With so much to see inside; you should definitely wander over here.
Now contrary to what is written, we did not pay to enter. We paid for our tickets to the Vatican Museums and then wandered over here after finishing there. Many articles say you don’t pay, but then why are there websites telling you to buy tickets? That I am not 100% but we personally did not pay, so bare that in mind. I also advise you, like I advised on my Vatican blog to prebook tickets directly through their site.
Ok one more thing, people write reviews complaining of how busy and crowded the Vatican City is and that it is not thrilling. Well of course it isn’t, but you have to remember how many other nationalities in all the other countries of the world have dreamed of coming to visit to and although the guards don’t smile and scream at you at any given chance if you’re not moving fast enough, there is reason. So many people want to see this amazing place so be mindful of this before coming. If you’re not one for crowd induced spaces, then I would do your very best to research the quietest times to visit (if there is any).
Basilica di San Pietro; this is not the original church. The original stood before this since the 4th century AD and the present church as we see it today has stood since November 1626 when it was completed.
The feeling I felt as I entered the basilica was a sense of awe at how beautiful and radiant yet dark the architecture is. You walk in to this huge entrance with the Papal Altar and Baldacchino in the distance and despite it being far away, it is still massive. A bronze canopy that stands over the altar which is directly under the dome of the basilica.
There is a door called the “holy door’ which is only opened every 25years.When visitors walk through this door, they are apparently redeemed of all their sins. No I didn’t get to walk through this door! You can use a free audio guide as you walk around the church but if you want a much better experience; you do pay extra.
You can move towards the ceiling of the building but unfortunately for Jason and I, we were on a timeline and the church was to close so we missed going higher up which looks incredible by the way. You can also see the city from the top with an extra fee. Kinda glad we didn’t because by this point the rain was just insane, we would have been soaked. Bare in mind we travelled with backpacks so very minimal clothes to change into.
Despite the rain, the Vatican City is stunning in the evening because everything is lit up. When we visited Rome, we went just after Christmas so the Christmas decorations was still up too.
Things to note when visiting the church; you should dress accordingly as it is taken very serious. Trousers and shoulders covered for men, knees and shoulders covered for women, and strictly no low cut tops either. I planned ahead and booked tickets through their actual website and there are many ticket options to choose from. There is also a map of the museums that you can download as a pdf file which helps you to find the sights in which interest you the most, or if you have limited time as did we; you can plan your day accordingly. I think even over three days you wouldn’t see everything. My advice; do you research and learn about the church and what it stands for before visiting. Coming from me; I didn’t do this too much and I regret not knowing more, but I do plan to visit again and so I will for next time.
Below you’ll see images I took inside the church. It amazed me just how high some of the columns reached and the intricacy of the architecture and design. With so many meanings, each is very authentic and personal to itself. Stand and take moments of deep thought to recognise every inch this place has to offer. Have fun!