St. Peter’s Basilica, Rome. A Renaissance masterpiece

Churches don’t get bigger than St. Peter’s Basilica, in every sense of the word. Not only is it physically colossal, it’s also the home of the Catholic Church. Enter the historic walls of Vatican City, residence of the Pope, to discover the focal point of a historical and spiritual pilgrimage.

One of the apostles and the first Pope, St. Peter was crucified in Rome in 64 AD. There’s strong evidence suggesting that his body is buried beneath the Basilica’s main altar.

More than just a building

If you love Renaissance architecture, St. Peter’s is a stunning example of the style. And even if the spiritual side isn’t for you, it’s hard not to be moved by such a magnificent building. Hop off our Rome Bus Tour at the Vatican and admire this incredible feat of science and engineering.

Designed by Michelangelo, St. Peter’s boasts the world’s largest dome. Feeling energetic? Then climb the 500 steps to the top. If your legs aren’t up to this, simply gaze in wonder at the beautiful artworks that adorn the walls, including pieces by Michelangelo and Bernini.

Other interesting facts about St. Peter’s Basilica

  • As St. Peter’s isn’t the official seat of the Bishop of Rome, it’s not actually a cathedral and remains a not-so-humble church
  • Started in 306 AD, St. Peter’s took over 1,300 years to reach its complete stage in 1626
  • The top of the colonnade in the square contains 140 carvings of individual saints
  • The dome was inspired by the Pantheon and some of the materials used in construction came from the Forum in Rome
  • There are more than 100 tombs in St. Peter’s Basilica, including those of 91 popes, as well as emperors and royal families