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St. Peter's Basilica Dome Climb: Tickets, Tours & Opening Hours

Picture of Sebastian Erkens
Sebastian Erkens

Climbing up to St. Peter’s Dome is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the Vatican. In this article, you will learn everything you need to know about visiting Michelangelo’s dome.

The tickets to St. Peter’s Basilica Dome and all other Rome tickets can be purchased directly from our website. The entrance is worth it!

Vatican St Peter's Basilica Dome Tickets
St. Peter's Basilica Dome Climb

Address:
Piazza San Pietro, 00120 Vatican City

Transportation:
Metro station: Ottaviano, Line A (red)

Ticket information:
Admission to St. Peter’s Basilica is free. Waiting times vary depending on the season. 2-3 hours are not uncommon during high season.

Most St. Peter’s Basilica tours offer the advantage of skipping the lines!

Opening hours:

St. Peter’s Basilica
April 01 – September 30: 7 am – 7 pm
October 01 – March 31: 7 am – 6:30 pm 
Closed on Jan 1 | Jan 6 | Easter

St. Peter’s Basilica Dome
April 01 – September 30: 8 am – 6 pm 
October 01 – March 31: 8 am – 6 pm

Crypta
April 01 – September 30: 8 am – 6 pm
October 01 – March 31: 8 am – 5:30 pm
Closed on Sundays & bank holidays

How long to visit:
2 hours

Dress code: cover shoulders & knees

Nearby:
St. Peter’s Basilica Dome (0,0 km)
Vatican Museums (0,5 km)
Castel Sant Angelo (0,7 km)

St. Peter’s Basilica Dome Tickets:

St Peters Dome Climb Ticket line entry
Dome Climb of St Peters Vatican City
Picture of St Peters Dome inside
360° View from top of St Peters Dome

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In addition, you will get answers to all the essential questions about a stress-free visit to the dome:

  • Is the climb to the dome worth it?
  • How long are the waiting times in front of the entrance?
  • What is the view like from above? What is there to see?
  • How much are the dome tickets? What are the options?
  • How strenuous is the climb?
  • Where is the entrance to the dome?
  • When is the best time to visit the dome of the Cathedral?
Vatican St Peter's Basilica Dome Tickets

On average, the waiting time in front of the dome entrance is 45-60 minutes. Even if the climb to the very top of the Cathedral is associated with some physical exertion, you should not miss the visit to St. Peter’s dome. The entrance fee is definitely worth it!

Once at the top, you will be rewarded with a breathtaking view of Rome. You can circle the observation deck once completely, giving you a fantastic panoramic view and an outstanding photo backdrop. But more than the broad view of the city is worthwhile. Michelangelo’s dome, including its architecture and art, is a feast for the eyes.

The dome climb is worth it!

A visit to St. Peter’s Basilica, including the dome, is one of the most exciting experiences during a visit to Rome. Not least because the 360° view over Italy’s capital is awe-inspiring. You can see the Vatican City with its Vatican Gardens, the Vatican Museums, the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Square, the German cemetery founded by Charlemagne, and much more.

However, those who ‘only’ want to go to the roof of the Cathedral (which is easily accessible by elevator) will not be disappointed. Michelangelo’s dome is simply spectacular, with its size of 136.57 meters, and more than worth a visit. You will be already enchanted with a fascinating view of St. Peter’s Square, the great wall mosaics, and a breathtaking dome construction.

View from St Peters Dome in Vatican

What visitors say..

5/5
Great experience! Expensive option but would have missed key features without a guide. Particularly enjoyed seeing the beautiful mosaics close up in the dome and the site of St Peter's tomb below the church. Down side was the long wait in the security clearance line at the entrance even with advance ticket purchase.
Christian
5/5
Beated the heat and the crowd,, but totally worth it! It really is something else - there is so much history and beauty in the Basilica. I definetly recommend going there earlier in the day and maybe taking a guided tour to see the most impressive church! We had Silva as a guide and even though she was new in this, she did a terrific job 🙂
Melanie

St. Peter's Basilica Dome Climb Tickets & Tours:

Persons:
Price:
Entry:
Adults
16,00 € / person
Infants (3 years and younger)
Free
Guided Tour St. Peters + Dome Climb
28,99 € / person

The roof of the Cathedral can be reached by elevator or on foot

The dome has two ‘stations,’ so to speak. The top of St. Peter’s Basilica is just under 80 meters above the floor and is fortunately accessible to almost every tourist (handicapped or not).

It is connected to a passenger elevator that transports you quickly to the top. So, up to this station, it will be claustrophobic and exhausting by elevator.

Alternatively, you can climb the 231 steps to the first level on foot. The climb is generally not an entirely easy one. This challenge should be considered for those who struggle with claustrophobia, shortness of breath, or other health impairments.

Sculptures Apostels on St Peters Church Vatican

Even if you can’t quite reach the end of the viewing platform due to the security barriers, you already have a nice view of Rome from here. You’ll also get up close and personal with the 13 larger-than-life sculptures of the apostles – made of limestone and travertine – that decorate the roof of St. Peter’s Basilica. On the top, there is also a toilet, a souvenir store, and a snack bar.

Impression of St. Peter's Basilica Dome Climb:

The tour inside of St. Peter's Dome

A small staircase leads from the roof of St. Peter’s Basilica to the dome’s interior. You can see the incredible wall decorations, including mosaics, up close. It is almost unbelievable when you consider that every single letter of the dome above you measures a height of 1.50 meters. With some luck, you will even hear some chanting from below.

The entire dome measures an incredible 42.34 meters in diameter. Thus, it is smaller than its role model, the Pantheon, but much higher. If you look down, you look protected by a grid of countless visitors inside the Cathedral. Due to the height of this viewing platform, the hustle and bustle of the tourists 80 meters below seems almost surreal. Because the dome can only be reached by stairs, wheelchair users unfortunately have no access here.

Tickets St Peters Dome Climb Inside Pictures
St Peter's Dome Climb inside photo

Another 320 steps to the top of the dome

Those motivated by these phenomenal impressions now have the opportunity to walk to the top of the dome. This part of the climb is optional and must be done on foot. There is no elevator here, but a really narrow spiral staircase.

Even though there are windows and cameras for safety, this is certainly only some people’s cup of tea. The total of 320 steps to the upper and last level of the dome has already demanded quite a bit from some visitors.

Fortunately, however, there are always smaller ledges that can be used for a short breather. The descent in a different part of the dome means that at least you won’t encounter oncoming traffic. But once you reach the top, all exertions are forgotten!

St Peters Dome Climb Stairs
St Peters Climb Walking way Stairs

A breathtaking view of Rome

Once you have conquered the last steps of the climb, you will be beaming. Once at the top, a 360° view of Rome awaits you. Here, you can take a deep breath and shoot impressive souvenir photos.

360° View from St Peters Dome

Entrance to the dome & security checks

If you stand in St. Peter’s Square and look towards the Cathedral, the entrance to the dome is to the right of the entrance to St. Peter’s Basilica (inside the portico). However, first, you will have to go through security checks. We recommend that you get here as early as the morning. From noon onwards, you have to expect waiting times of more than 60 minutes.

If you have booked tickets via fast entry to the Cathedral, you can skip the queue by walking past on the right. Just behind the post office, you will find the priority entrance. This can be booked at any time. So, if you decide to do so at short notice, the ticket is immediately available to you via smartphone.

Another entrance to the dome is just outside the Vatican Museums. You will see this if you exit the Sistine Chapel to the right and take the shortcut to the Duomo. However, this entrance is only allowed for groups with tour guides.

If you want to go to St. Peter’s Basilica in advance, another option exists. Once you leave the crypt, you will come out opposite the entrance to the dome.

St Peters Dome Climb Ticket line entry

Depending on the event and the day, there may already be entry controls at St. Peter’s Square. These are similar to security checks at airports. Knives and other potentially dangerous objects are strictly prohibited. Drinks, umbrellas, and smaller backpacks may be taken inside with a clear conscience. By the way, trendy for souvenir photos of the Eternal City is also the Swiss Guard, who stand out from the crowd with their eye-catching, colorful uniforms.

FAQ's:

There are 2 options to get to the top of St. Peter’s dome. You can walk the entire 551 steps to the dome or pay extra and walk 320 steps while shortening the rest by elevator.

The entrance to St. Peter’s Basilica is free of charge. So you don’t need any tickets to visit the church. However, the queues in front of St. Peter’s Basilica are usually long. If you take a guided tour, you can skip the line directly.

The dome of St. Peter’s Basilica is open from April to September from 8:00 to 18:00. From October to March, the dome opens from 8:00 to 17:00. On Wednesdays, the dome is always closed.

The best time to visit St. Peter’s Basilica is between November and March inclusive. The number of visitors is much lower during the winter months.

The dome of St. Peter’s Basilica was designed primarily by the sculptor and master architect Michelangelo Buonarotti. The dome was completed in 1593 by Giacomo de la Porta, almost 30 years after Michelangelo’s death.

This is where St. Peter's Basilica is located:

Editor: Sebastian Erkens
Hey and welcome to Rome-Tourist! My name is Sebastian and I travel regularly to Rome, Italy.
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