Nearby places of interest
Nearby places of interest
Here you’ll find an overview of all the sights that are in the immediate surroundings of St. Peter’s Basilica.
St. Peter’s Square
Piazza San Pietro, designed by Bernini, is the center of the Vatican City and is particularly famous thanks to the Pope who holds mass here during Easter and Christmas for tens of thousands of people.
The enormous square, 240 meters wide and 340 meters long is home to St. Peter’s Basilica, the Vatican Museums, and the papal palaces, among others. There are also two large fountains from the seventeenth century and an Egyptian obelisk (which was originally part of the Circus Maximus) situated.
The Musei Vaticani count a total of 26 different museums, all connected and located in the Apostolic Palaces in Vatican City. Thanks to its huge collection of art treasures from Roman and Egyptian antiquity, religious objects, beautifully painted rooms, and even modern art, the museum is one of the largest in the world.
During your visit, you can admire, among other things, the famous Sistine Chapel and the many art treasures that the popes have collected here (spread over 54 rooms) since the 16th century.
The entrance to the museums is just 1 km away from St. Peter’s Basilica and is easily reached by foot (a 12-minute walk).
The chapel in the Apostolic Palace is especially famous for its frescoes that decorate the interior, particularly The Creation of Adam (on the ceiling) and The Last Judgement (on the west wall), both by Michelangelo. The two gigantic frescoes are among the greatest achievements of Western painting. Furthermore, the chapel is known as the location of Papal conclaves.
The Sistine Chapel is located right next to St. Peter’s Basilica. When you buy a ticket to the Vatican Museums, you also have access to the Sistine Chapel. It’s not possible to buy separate tickets for it.
Amid the hustle and bustle of churches, chapels, and museums there’s a green oasis of beautiful gardens. The 23 hectares of natural, architectural, and artistic space occupy most of Vatican Hill.
In the gardens, you can recognize a mix of Italian, French, and English styles. The Italian characteristics are formal and geometrical, with features of the Renaissance. The French garden expresses the classic baroque art with statues and fountains. And the English garden has elements such as caves, streams, temples, and ruins.
From St. Peter’s Basilica, it’s a 20-minute walk to the entrance of the gardens. A guided tour must be booked in advance but is included in the admission ticket for the Vatican Museums.
Located on the banks of the Tiber River, Castel Sant’Angelo is another sight you can’t miss in Rome as it looks back on an eventful history.
Originally built as a mausoleum for Emperor Hadrian, it was converted into a castle by popes over time. Over the years, it has served (among others) as a tomb, refuge, residence, treasury, prison, execution site, and barracks.
Today, Castel Sant’Angelo is a museum located just 700 meters from St. Peter’s Basilica (a 10-minute walk).