View of St. Peter's Square seen from the St. Peter's Basilica Dome
St. Peter's Basilica rooftop on a sunny morning
Straircase that bring you to the Dome
12 apostles statues on the St. Peter's Basilica Facade seen by the Basilica's rooftop

St. Peter’s Basilica Dome Climb Experience

(11 Reviews)
0.75 h.
Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri & Sat
Several Departure Times

  • Make the most of the vast St. Peter’s Basilica, the most significant church in Christianity, by exploring it from completely new prospective.
  • Along with access to the interior first level of the dome and the top of the cupola for rarely seen views, you’ll also get direct access into the ground floor basilica when you descend.
  • Enjoy the breathtaking views of Rome once you reach the top of the dome, where you will spot some amazing landmarks such as the Colosseum, the Pantheon and much more.

Tour Description

What's Included

  • Expert English-speaking tour guide
  • Dome entrance ticket with access to 1st level and top of the dome
  • Instant access to St. Peter’s Basilica
  • Headsets when appropriate, so you can always hear your guide
  • Small groups of 25 people or fewer
  • Gratuities

Sites Visited

  • St. Peter's Dome
  • St. Peter's Basilica (on your own)
  • St. Peter’s Square

During this 45-minute tour, you’ll reach the top of the tallest dome in the world and take in a view over Rome that cannot be surpassed – with the monuments of the Roman Empire in the distance as you stand beneath the cross that draws pilgrims to this iconic church.

A masterpiece of Renaissance architecture, many artists lent their hand to it, but the final design of the dome is from Michelangelo. This is just one of the many reasons why it is one of the most significant monuments in the Christian world.

Dome Climbing Experience of St. Peter’s Basilica

Begin in St. Peter’s Square, where the dome rises above the rooftops of Bernini’s colonnade. Your expert English-speaking guide will take you the base of the dome so you can start your climb.

They will take you by elevator to the first balcony viewing platform. You are now inside the basilica, high above the altar and the canopy created by Bernini. This is a view that few get.

Take in the sights below while your expert English-speaking guide points out the details around you. If you look up towards the dome lantern, you’ll see the highest image of God in the Vatican. Michelangelo’s windows in the dome allow sunlight to shine on the exquisite blue and gold mosaics of the walls. The Latin words which surround the dome are from the gospels and are over six-feet high.

Having your guide with you here will help you understand their meaning for the popes and answer any questions you may have.

You are then given free time to enjoy the rest of your experience, where most then enjoy a solo climb up the spiral staircase to the top of the dome. There are 320 steps that will take you to the top, but once you are there the views are breathtaking. This second viewing platform is 446 feet high, which is the highest point in the Vatican!

The views from here go right around the dome. Looking down one side you’ll see the long lines which cross St. Peter’s Square as pilgrims line up to enter the basilica. On the other side, you’ll see the green bursts of color from the Vatican Gardens which help the popes relax. In the distance, you may be able to make out the Pantheon that was one of the inspirations for the dome. Enjoy your time up here and get those photos to prove that you made it.

No need to line up again into St. Peter’s Basilica

When you leave the top, you’ll end up inside the basilica on the ground floor. There is no need to join the lines that will have grown since you started your climb of the dome. You’ll be free to explore the treasures inside this beautiful building on your own.

Of course, your guide will already have covered what to see inside the basilica. The information leaflet given by your guide will also help you find all the highlights in the basilica.

These include the papal bees, the statue of St. Peter worn down by pilgrims and Michelangelo’s Pietà. You will know exactly where to find his signature, the only one he left in his career. As a result of your climb, you’ll have a much better understanding of St. Peter’s Basilica.

Intimate Groups with Vatican Experts

Very few people can say they climbed to the top of St. Peter’s Basilica Dome. To make it more than a workout, you’ll have an expert English-speaking guide with your small group, who will unfold the story of the basilica for you. It’s a fascinating monument, so you might miss many of the amazing details without a guide by your side. You’ll discover the impact of the dome on later churches and similar structures as far away as Capitol Building in Washington.

During this climb, we limit your group to max 25 people. This will give you plenty of time to ask questions and get to learn about the basilica in a new light.

Important Notes

Covid Guidelines:

For information related to COVID measures currently in place, including specifics regarding the requirements and restrictions associated with visiting tourist attractions and traveling within Italy, please review the following guidance:

Tour Specifics:

  • Please note that the dome’s elevator only takes you to the first terrace. In order to climb to the top of the dome you will have to use stairs (320 steps). Please allow yourself approximately 20 extra minutes if you wish to climb up to the dome of St Peters from there.
  • This tour is not suitable for those who suffer from claustrophobia and/or vertigo, heart or other serious medical conditions.
  • Entrance into the Basilica and Dome complex requires a strict dress code. Knees and shoulders MUST be covered for both men and women. City Wonders cannot be held responsible for refused entry due to improper dress.

Cancelation Policy

This tour is subject to a 24-hour cancelation policy. If you wish to cancel or amend your booking, you can do so without charge by contacting us up to 24 hours in advance of your expected departure time.

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A Dark Rome tour is the product of meticulous research, detailed planning, and a passion for providing customers with travel experiences they will cherish forever.

With Dark Rome it's not just facts, our passionate guides tell you the stories that bring the sights to life.

  • All of our guides are experts in their field
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