The world’s largest Christian church, St Peter’s Basilica or given its official Italian name, Basilica Papale di San Pietro in Vaticano, is just one many beautiful churches that can be found in the city of Rome.
Contrary to popular belief, St Peter’s is a church, not a cathedral, as it is not the seat of a bishop. However, it’s the most famous and grandiose in Rome and if you only plan to see one church during your visit, then St Peter’s Basilica should probably the one.
The original church was constructed by order of the Emperor Constantine in the fourth century and is said to be the burial site of its namesake Saint Peter, one of the twelve apostles of Jesus. The renaissance structure that now stands was constructed over a period of 120 years during the 15th and 16th centuries. St Peter’s Basilica isn’t just a church, it’s a museum of religious and historical Roman artefacts, and it’s also the centre of the Roman Catholic faith and draws pilgrims from all over the world.
Michelangelo’s dome, St Peter’s tomb, the Grottoes, the Vatican Necropolis and climbing the Cupola; a visit to St Peter’s Basilica is absolutely worthwhile, but beware of queues, St Peter’s opens at 7am and if you can make this visit an early one to avoid the tourist rush. Also bear in mind that St Peter’s Basilica is a highly religious place and there is a strict dress code, no shorts, no skirts above the knees and no bare shoulders. St Peter’s Basilica can be found in the Piazza San Pietro. Open from Apr-Sep 7:00-19:00 and Oct-Mar 7:00-18:0.
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