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St Peter's Basilica Tour - Small Group | Michelangelo's Dome & Papal Tombs
Explore the world's largest church - St Peter's Basilica - with an expert tour guide
Get a comprehensive TOP to BOTTOM tour of St Peter's including tombs & dome
Climb 281 steps to the top of Michelangelo's Dome to see breathtaking Rome views
See the tombs of Popes from past centuries including those of John Paul II
Admire the marvels of Baroque & Renaissance art by Michelangelo, Bernini & more
Please note: As of January 2nd, 2019 this tour will no longer be offered on Tuesday. Please be aware of this change when booking your 2019 tours.
St Peter’s Basilica is the world’s largest church, which holds the underground tombs of over ninety-one Popes and is home to one of the most stunning architectural works of the Renaissance, Michelangelo’s Dome. LivItaly’s St Peter’s Basilica Tour is designed to take through 2000 years of Christian history, while taking you on a comprehensive guided tour from the sacred papal tombs all the way to the top of majestic views from Michelangelo’s dome. Learn about the Holy Door of the basilica – open only during Jubilee years, it is said that if you pass through these doors, you are absolved of all sin.
“When we arrived at St. Peter’s Basilica and
my mother-in-law raced ahead to see Michelangelo’s
Pieta–that is a moment that I will never forget.
Barbara’s extensive background on Michelangelo
made the entire tour so much more meaningful.”
Experience the purity and preciseness of one of Michelangelo’s first sculptures, the Pietà, a depiction of the Virgin Mary holding her lifeless son Jesus in her arms, a work of perfection. Make your way over to Bernini’s Baldacchino, an altar reserved for Pope. This is only the ground floor. The highlights of this tour are many, but what sets this tour apart from all others is entrance into the crypts below and a climb to the top of Michelangelo’s dome. Get an idea of ancient Christian burial rituals and take in the extraordinary view from the tallest building in all of Rome. This tour is designed to give you a comprehensive look at Christianity’s most famous religious landmark.
ABOUT YOUR SMALL GROUP ST PETER’S BASILICA TOUR
Small Group St Peter’s Basilica Tour begins with a walk and talk about one of the loveliest squares of Rome – St Peter’s Square. Your guide will tell you all about the renowned architects who were commissioned to work on what is now one of the most visited attractions of Rome. St Peter’s Square is the work of Gianlorenzo Bernini who designed the colonnades in a way as to give a sense of a welcoming hug to the many pilgrims who visit Vatican City. A quick walk through security check, and you are ready to enter the basilica named after the first Pope, and saint who is said to be the keeper of the keys to heaven – St Peter.
Once inside St Peter’s, you will realize why this is considered one of the most divine works of the Christian faith. The entirety of the basilica is full of priceless art and history, so much so that LivItaly has carefully selected highlights which will give you a solid foundation to understand the basilica and its history from top to bottom, and inside out.
TOP OF ST PETERS | MICHELANGELO’S DOME
Your guide will take you up a few flights to the interior ring, just below the rim of Michelangelo’s dome via elevator. Where the elevator stops, the steps begin. You will spend a short time looking down on the Baldacchino which you have just stretched your neck looking up at. Get a whole new perspective of the inside of St Peter’s Basilica from above. This is the perfect place to take a few very unique snapshots, an ideal way to capture the light shimmering through the nearby stained glass. The view is gorgeous from this angle, but it will now only get better. Your LivItaly guide will provide you with materials and information to spend a bit of time with your group exploring the views from the top of Michelangelo’s dome! The only way up is through stairs. You will climb the 281 steps which take you to the incredible views of St Peter’s Square and beyond. Enjoy the views and make your way down to meet up with your guide once more.
GROUND FLOOR HIGHLIGHTS OF YOUR ST PETERS BASILICA TOUR
St Peter’s Basilica holds the only piece of art that Michelangelo ever signed. Curious why? Your guide will tell you the tales of Michelangelo, and take you through his turbulent life and give you a look at his inspired artwork. See the Pietà up close and admire the genius of a young Michelangelo, only 24 years old, creating this majestic piece from one solid block of marble.
Make your way over the Bernini’s Baldacchino altar. This 96-foot, altarpiece is made of 100,000 pounds of solid bronze and measures as high as a 3-story building. It is a bit difficult to miss the majesty of this papal canopy. Bernini was commissioned to create this functional Baroque work of art as homage to St Peter, whose tomb lies directly below the Baldacchino.
“The opportunity to travel abroad was for
me a once in a lifetime adventure. A large part of
what made this trip so amazing for me was the
tour I took with LivItaly.com. Italy is the second
country I have been to in Europe and hands down
the most beautiful place I have ever experienced.”
BELOW ST PETERS | PAPAL TOMBS
One of the main attractions for Christian pilgrimages is a journey to the papal tombs to see the tombs of some of the most famous Popes, including the beloved tomb of John Paul II and countless other Popes from the fifth century to present day. Learn about the plans of Pope Julius II to have an enormous tomb created for him, a task which he commissioned Michelangelo to. This is the same Pope who commissioned the Sistine Chapel.
Some of the other works your LivItaly tour guide will guide your towards is the Statue of
Peter in Bronze, by Arnolfo di Cambio. The right foot of this cast sculpture of St Peter is worn down, as it is a ritual for travelers to touch or kiss his foot to honor him. You will also see one of the most beautiful chapels in the whole of St Peters, the Chapel of the Baptistery, designed by Carlo Fontana in the 17th century, and still used to perform baptisms. See one of Bernini’s last masterpieces on your St Peters Basilica Tour – the Memorial of Alexander VII, a work depicting the the pontiff’s courage in the face of death with the aide of prayer.
Your LivItaly St Peter’s Basilica Tour will get a full picture of the art work and papal history which has contributed to not only the basilica, but to the shaping of Christianity throughout the centuries.
ABOUT OUR 6 PEOPLE SMALL GROUP POLICY
When you book a LivItaly Small Group Tour, you are guaranteed one tour guide per group of 6 people. Please bear in mind though that in order to accommodate traveling families and friends, we do on rare occasion make the exception of adding an additional one to two guests in order not to split groups who are traveling together. On that same note, you may find yourself on tour with less than six people. As we accept bookings in multiples of six, math doesn’t always work in our favor to help accommodate individual travelers and their families when on the same tour, so we hope you understand and apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. St Peter’s Basilica Tour – Small Group | Michelangelo’s Dome & Papal Tombs is part of 2
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