St. Peter's Basilica Tour

Explore the basilica and treasury with an expert historian
From US$429 privately
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Tour Details
3 hours
Product Type
  • St. Peter's Basilica
  • Treasury Museum
Photos & Highlights
  • Soak in the powerful artworks in St. Peter's Basilica and get a detailed look of the history of it all
  • Led by a theologian, art historian, or architect
Select a date
Tour Description
Our three-hour guided St. Peter’s Basilica Tour provides an in-depth look at the church of St. Peter's, the seat of the Vatican. Led by a church historian or art historian, this tour is designed to provide a detailed look at this major part of Vatican city and include works by Michelangelo, Bernini and others. 

“Your guide was exceptional and stayed with us for an extended period. It was just fabulous. No other tour company should be used, if one wants to truly learn. Bravo!”

St. Peter's Basilica Tour

We'll begin on via della Conciliazione, the modern processional road built by Mussolini in the 20th century that greatly altered the approach to the Vatican. Here we'll discuss the topography of the Vatican and the historical precedents for the church that now stands there. We’ll then progress through the square, designed by Bernini, to enter the basilica proper. Inside, we’ll make a circuit through the church, guided by key artworks (the Pieta, the Baldacchino, etc.) focusing on the history of the Vatican in general and this church in particular.

Vatican Grottoes

We will then proceed to the Vatican Grottoes (Tomb of the Popes), which is situated between the floor level of the Constantinian Basilica and the nave of the modern building. Giving us a sense of how the old Basilica was structured, we will also view and discuss the tombs of several Popes. In the remaining time, we will visit the often overlooked Treasury Museum, which displays some of the finest works of Christian art in the world.


To assist you in planning your trip to the Vatican, we have created an informative resources page - How to visit the Vatican

Keep in mind Context runs two other walks that cover the Vatican. Our Vatican Museums Tour is a three-hour tour that covers just the Vatican Museums and our Vatican Tour, which is a four-hour walk that covers both the Vatican Museums and St. Peter's Basilica.


Does this tour include the Scavi beneath St. Peter's?
No, however, visits to that site can be made through the Vatican Scavi office directly and are led by their own guides. You can email them at the following address:

Is this tour mobility friendly?
This tour is not very walking intensive and access to the basilica is made by ramps. The Vatican Grottoes can be accessed by elevator for wheelchair users. Feel free to contact us or indicate in your trip notes any mobility concerns and we can ensure the tour is adapted accordingly.

Are skip-the-line tickets included?
No, St. Peter's Basilica is free, therefore, there is no advance tickets/access available. During the tour we usually visit the Treasury Museum, they do not sell advance tickets for it. These are €6 per person and you are responsible for purchasing these during the tour. If you plan to also visit the Vatican Museums with Context, we recommend the Art Vaticana tour which also includes the basilica and prevents the need to stand in line to enter.

Does this tour include climbing the dome?
Climbing the dome is not included in the tour, however, you can do this on your own at the end of the tour if you wish. Tickets can be purchased on site.

Does this tour include the Sistine Chapel?
No, the Sistine Chapel is part of the Vatican Museums and is visited on our Vatican Museums Tour.

Is this tour good for kids?
We recommend families traveling with kids under 13 take our Vatican Tour for Kids which has been specifically designed for younger learners. It is led by a family-friendly expert guide and includes interactive activities.
Where You'll Start
(4.63) 131 Reviews

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We enjoyed our experience in Saint Peter’s and learned a great deal. Our guide was knowledgeable, articulate, and sensitive to our needs. This is why we come back to Context tours.
Sabrina was wonderful. As an art historian, she was able to share with us the key insights we had hoped to learn.
Cecilia was very accommodating and knowledgeable. She was patient with our lack of knowledge.