Ultimate St. Peter's Basilica Dome Climb and Tour with Papal Crypts

See St. Peter’s Basilica up close and climb the dome for the best views of Rome and the Vatican

Travel Flexibly 4.9 / 5 See All 26 Reviews · 2.00h 18 max · Vatican, Italy

Want to add a bit more “epic” into your Vatican visit? Look no further! Climbing the dome at St. Peter’s Basilica is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, giving you the ultimate view across the Vatican and the city of Rome. After your climb, your expert local guide will show you the beautiful details of the Basilica and tell stories of its fascinating history, and you'll also head underground to see the elaborate Papal Crypts. There’s no better way to see the world’s largest and most famous church!

Tour Details
  • Skip the line at St. Peter's Basilica
  • Climb St. Peter’s Dome
  • See the grand main hall
  • Discover the Basilica's secrets
  • Michelangelo's La Pietá
  • Learn the history behind the architecture
  • Bernini's Baldacchino
  • The statue of St. Peter
  • The Papal Crypts

You’ll meet your friendly local guide and group in front of St. Peter’s Basilica soon after it opens, and you’ll skip the line to begin your dome climb before the big crowds arrive. After taking the elevator to the first level to admire the elaborate mosaics, you can ascend the narrow, ancient stairway to the very top, where you’ll have an unbeatable view of Rome and the Vatican.

Afterwards, your guide will give you an in-depth tour inside the basilica itself, where you’ll learn its history and see the artistic masterpieces of Michelangelo and Bernini. Finally, you’ll head down to the Papal Crypts underneath the church, where the elaborate tombs of many former popes are housed.

St. Peter’s Dome Climb Tour Description

Your 2-hour tour includes:

  • Skip-the-line entry to St. Peter's Basilica

  • Guided climb to the top of the dome

  • Guided tour of St. Peter's Basilica and Papal Crypts

  • A friendly, knowledgeable, English-speaking guide

  • A maximum group size of 18

Climb St. Peter’s Dome

Get ready for the best view in all of Rome! Once inside St. Peter's Basilica, you'll follow your guide up the elevator to lower level of the dome. This first level is filled with incredibly elaborate mosaics that cover the inside of the dome, and you'll also get a chance to step outside onto the terrace and embrace an iconic view of the Vatican City.

From the first tier, you’ll have the option to climb even higher, with 320 ancient stone steps leading you to very top of the dome. It's a little strenuous on the legs and the stairway gets narrow and a little claustrophobic in parts, but the reward at the top will make it all worthwhile! This is a truly epic view of the Vatican and the historic center of Rome, and it's our favorite way to introduce travelers to the Eternal City.

Guided tour of St. Peter’s Basilica

You'll return to ground level for a more in-depth look into the largest church in the world. Your expert guide will show you around the various areas inside and point out the most iconic artworks of the Basilica, including Michelangelo’s Pietà and Bernini’s Baldacchino. Among the most famous things you'll see in the Basilica are the spectacular throne and high altar of St. Peter—built directly above his final resting place. Your ticket also allows you to marvel in the elegance of St. Peter’s Basilica for as long as you’d like after the tour has finished, so you can return for a closer look at any of the artwork or important features here.

Visit the Papal Crypts

From the very top of St. Peter's Basilica, you'll descend to the very bottom! Buried in beautiful caskets and effigies below the Basilica are the remains of many of the Catholic church's former popes. Your guide will tell you all about the men buried here and the part they played in Catholic history, and you'll be able to admire the intricate details of the tombs, many of which were designed by Michelangelo and Bernini. 

On occasion, the papal crypts can be closed to the public at very short notice. But don't worry, your guide knows every inch of the Basilica and will use the time to explore other fascinating areas and artworks.

What you get with this tour
Skip-the-line entry to St. Peter's Basilica
Guided climb to the top of the dome
Guided tour of St. Peter's Basilica and Papal Crypts
A friendly, knowledgeable, English-speaking guide
A maximum group size of 18
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26 total reviews

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4.9/5 (based on 26 reviews)
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Do the Dome!
25 September 2022
G
Reviewed by
Gayle Pastrick

Everything went smoothly which was great since it was an early morning tour. Seeing Rome light up at sunrise was magical. We had a great guide, Christina, who had excellent info and stories. The whole experience was awesome.

Up early fir St Peter's Basilica climb
23 September 2022
D
Reviewed by
Denise Lawrence

Fantastic climb up the Bell Tower, nice and early before the heat of the day and beautiful clear views of the city. Christina was a most passionate guide and enhanced the tour with her knowledge. The Crypts were very special to see and the Cathedral is stunning. Would not miss this tour!

21 September 2022
R
Reviewed by
Robin Hanson

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Frequently Asked Questions

Where to meet?

Meet your guide at Largo Del Colonnato. This is the area just outside of the St. Peters Square colonnades, on the right side if you’re looking at St. Peter’s Basilica. You’ll see a friendly representative holding a “The Tour Guy” sign standing between the fountain and the green kiosk.

What to bring?

Comfortable shoes, a bottle of water, and a great camera!

What to bring?

Comfortable shoes, a bottle of water, and a great camera!

Where to meet?

Meet your guide at Largo Del Colonnato. This is the area just outside of the St. Peters Square colonnades, on the right side if you’re looking at St. Peter’s Basilica. You’ll see a friendly representative holding a “The Tour Guy” sign standing between the fountain and the green kiosk.

Does this tour visit the Vatican Museums?

This tour doesn't include the Vatican Museums. However, if you're interested in touring the Vatican after your tour, consider our Skip the Line Vatican Tour with Sistine Chapel and St. Peter's Basilica.

Does this tour run on Wednesdays?

This tour isn't available on Wednesdays due to Papal Audience, which is held every Wednesday morning.

Is there an elevator I can take instead of climbing?

On this guided tour, everyone will enjoy the use of the elevator to skip the first 231 steps and emerge at the landing inside the dome. From there, you can either admire the view from the terrace or climb the remaining 320 steps on foot.

What if have claustrophobia?

Some parts of the stairway to the very top of the dome become very narrow and may not be suitable for people with severe claustrophobia. If you don't think this climb is for you, you're welcome to skip this part and stay on the first level, where you'll still have a fantastic view of the Vatican from the terrace.

What if I have concerns about my mobility on this tour?

The dome climb is optional and you're welcome to just take the elevator to the first level, but anyone wishing to climb should be prepared for 320 steps up and down. Otherwise, the tour will move at a fairly gentle pace with a few small stairways and uneven floors. If you're unsure, we'd suggest considering a private Vatican, St. Peter's Basilica, and Sistine Chapel Tour so we can tailor it to your needs.

Total: as low as $40.05

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