Results 1-10of 34 Reviews
Barrow in Furness, United Kingdom
August 20, 2012
From journal Roma in August
Belfast, Northern Ireland, United Kingdom
October 25, 2010
From journal la dolce vita in roma
Oxford, United Kingdom
September 16, 2010
Moscow, Moskva, Russia
July 20, 2010
From journal Rome is the 3rd Most Visited City in the EU
Perth, Scotland, United Kingdom
December 2, 2009
From journal Rome the Eternal
July 23, 2007
From journal When in Rome...
St. Louis, Missouri
August 3, 2003
The present St. Peter's Basilica is one of the most important and beautiful churches in Rome. It is over 25,616 square meters in area and has 44 altars, 11 domes, 778 columns, 395 statues and 135 mosaic pictures. For the architecture buffs, its dome was designed by Bramante and Michelangelo. The columnade was built by Bernini and the obelisk in the centre of the square was erected by Sixtus V.
St. Peter's is actually in Vatican City--a separate enclave within Rome which is governed both spiritually and politically by the Pope. It is surrounded by a wall built to protect the Tomb of St. Peter and also encloses the Papal Palace and beautiful gardens.
St. Peter's is Catholicism's most sacred shrine. Being catholic, we made our pilgrimage there and marveled at the beautiful structure. There is a small fee to go up in the dome, but well worth it for the magnificent views---both inside the dome and of the city around the basilica. Be prepared for a lot of stairs, even if you pay the extra to ride up to the dome in the elevator. To get to the outside viewing area is an additional 300 or so steps. The inside of the basilica is also a not to be missed experience. There is sculpted marble of all colors everywhere you turn. Expect to spend quite awhile here in order to see it all, the place is huge. Within the columnade is even a post office. We mailed a couple post cards from here to get the Vatican post mark. This is truely the most beautiful "church" I've ever been in! Whether you are Catholic or not, you should appreciate the workmanship throughout St. Peter's.
From journal Rome, "The Eternal City"
December 2, 2001
The view of St. Peter's Basilica began three blocks away as we walked on Via delio Conciliazione, the street leading from Castel Sant' Angelo to the Vatican City. The basilica formidably sat in all its wonder and awe, showing more detailed majesticness as we approached St. Peter's Square.
At night, the basilica is lit and the square is guarded by Vatican City police. Even though areas were barricaded off, we were able to walk through sections of St. Peter's Square for a closer view of the building exterior.
During the day, only one entrance on the right of the building is open for admittance to the basilica. On Wednesday and Sunday, there were checkpoints and metal detectors set up prior to entering the area surrounding the church. I was asked to check my backpack in at the base of the basilica.
View the external of the church to assess the size of this building. Then enter the church and take a few moments to again assess the size. People at the other end of the church barely appear. The enormity of the structure is fascinating. Immediately to the right is Michelangelo’s Pieta, behind a plexi-glass barrier. People were crowded in this section of the church and the wait to be up front was worthwhile.
We slowly walked through the various sections of the church. Small chapel areas are equally as elaborate as the church. One chapel was exclusively for private prayer, creating a peaceful environment of silence and solitute. A section towards the front was roped off for confessions, with the option of six different languages. Only people seeking this sacrement were permitted in this area.
We spent the better portion of two days visiting St Peter's Basilica. We were also looking for specific statues and tombs: ones identified in our guide book as well as suggestions from our tour group. The tombs of prior Popes, especially St. Peter's, took time for our viewing and prayers.
On Sunday mornings, a Latin Mass is offered at the back of the Basilica. Plan on arriving at least one hour before Mass begins to get a seat. Additionally, private Masses are celebrated in the smaller chapels at 7:30 in the morning. We were very grateful for our opportunity to participate in a Mass at St. Peter's.
Entrance to the "Tombs of the Popes" is also free and is accessible by a flight of stairs over by the statue of St. Longinus. The only exit from the Tombs left us outside the Basilica, so we should have left this for last.
Tours are available, although we did not do so. I believe we may have missed out on some of the historical significance of some statues and/or paintings not referenced in our book. We did not view the Vatican treasures either. Entrance to that musuem was about $4, but we simply ran out of time.
From journal Pope John Paul II
by Jose Kevo
October 18, 2001
For going to the top, ticket info is kind of misleading since it cost L7,000/$3.50 to take the stairs all the way, or L8,000/$4.00 to take an elevator part way. For St. Peter's sake, splurge and take the elevator for the short ride because there were STILL 320 grueling steps to the top even more gut-busting than climbing the spires of Gaudi's La Sagrada Familia in Barcelona. Stairways were steep, narrow, leaning inward, crowded and stuffy - especially with the "out of breath" types who stop to smoke another cigarette!
Between the elevator and atop the dome, you'll enter inside at the base of the dome for magnificent views of below as seen in this entry's photos. But also look up to get a clearer, more indepth view of Michaelangelo's detailed interior work on the dome.
The circular observation deck gives a superb 360-degree view over Rome worth every huff-and-puff step it took to get you there. Width of the deck is narrow further compounded by support arches which impede traffic flow. Be patient and wait your turn to grab an uninterrupted, up-front view against the railing's edge from any of the viewpoints...and be content to gaze about until you've had your fill. From the backside, you'll also see the expansive Vatican Gardens; something you're likely not going to walk through, so look and enjoy it while you can. I certainly could have spent more time here if the crowds hadn't been so thick and the breezes so much cooler and gustier.
Once coming back down the steps, you'll come into an upper terrace area that allows you to walk out across the rooftop of the Basilica. It's a nice open-air, uncrowded breather after coming down as well as adding many unique vantage points in and around The Vatican complex.
From journal CRASHCOURSE - Modern Day Gladiator 101
I'm not Catholic so I wasn't sure what to expect - religious or tourist experience? Aside from this being home of the Pope and a place seen often in various outlets of the media, this was simply one more stop on the jam-packed list of attractions I felt compelled to see while in Rome.
After poking around St. Peter's square which was heavily corridored off with only lanes for passage, I tried entering the Basilica...only to be sent back out and to a lower area right of the entrance. Everyone must check backpacks, purses, bags, etc. at no cost before entering so you might want to consider wearing something with extra pockets for camera, film, etc. they allow you to carry in. I also can't remember, but I think this same policy was also in affect at the Vatican Museum.
The Basilica could definitely win the title for "Church of all Churches" except it didn't have that feel once inside. The atmosphere was almost as chaotic as found around Piazza Venezia with the hordes of people milling about; even their quietest whispers and shufflings echoing within the cavernous interior. This may all be sounding disrespectful to Catholicism, but I found the indoor "circus atmosphere" even more disrespectful; especially with smaller mass services being conducted in various chapel settings.
I came here after touring the Vatican Museum so my mind was still blurred from "art overload" not to mention my lack of knowledge of Catholocism. But for those who do, there's a gazillion things to be seen. Frescoes inside the smaller cupolas and the great dome are definitely worth looking up for, and other works of Michaelangelo, Bernini, and noted artists are scattered about...though darkness makes flashless photography all but impossible.
There was quite the line waiting to descend into the grottoe-burial areas, but don't let it discourage you. Once below, the areas open up allowing you to leisurely or quickly pass the countless crypts, tombs, prayer altars and such including where St. Peter, himself is presumed to have been buried.
I can't imagine having came to Rome without touring The Vatican, but I didn't expect to leave with a "Been there - Done that" type of feeling either.