Visits to the Tomb of Saint Peter and the Necropolis

If until now you thought that a tourist visit to St. Peter meant only visiting the basilica of St. Peter, the papal tombs and possibly the museum inside the basilica, you must know that you have always been wrong! There is a vast archaeological area of supreme beauty and of high historical value where, I bet, you have not yet set your foot, I mean the real Tomb of Saint Peter and the Vatican Necropolis under the Basilica. In this article I will explain how to visit this unique place ….

Visits to the Tomb of Saint Peter and the Necropolis: a close up

Special visits to the necropolis underneath the Basilica, where the tomb of St. Peter is located, are only possible following special permission granted from time to time by the “Fabbrica di San Pietro”. Visits are organized according to the schedule set by the Excavations Office.

– In order to preserve this exceptional historical, archaeological site and due to the limited premises around the venerated tomb of the Apostle Peter, only around 250 visitors per day are permitted to enter.

– Groups are composed of approximately 12 people and according to language.

– Only those who are 15 years or older will be admitted – no exceptions will be made.

– Each group is accompanied by a guide especially trained by our office.

 The guided visit lasts about an hour and a half.

Please, be informed that environmental conditions will be different underground, with possible increase of temperature and humidity. Those who suffer specific and serious physical problems that could be effected by these conditions, including claustrophobia, should not visit.

Visits to the Tomb of Saint Peter – RESERVATIONS:

Requests, if possible, should be sent directly by the interested visitor/s.  If the person submitting the request is not the actual visitor, he or she should send the visitor(s) name(s) and e-mail address(es).  This will allow the Excavations Office to replay back to the person requesting the visit and to the visitor with specific information about the visit granted.

Those leading groups (universities, parishes, cultural associations, agencies, and other groups) should send a complete list of names of the  participants and the name of their organization.

There are no set deadlines for submitting requests.  All requests, even urgent ones, will be fulfilled depending on the places left available at the closest date to the one requested.

Requests may be submitted in written form by sending a message to, by fax +39 06 69873017, or by visiting the Excavations Office in person (using the south [left] entrance, just outside of the Colonnade).

Visits to the Tomb of Saint Peter -It is absolutely necessary to provide the following information:

Exact number of participants;
1.Names of participants;
2.Language requested;
3.Possible dates *when the Excavations Office can assign your visit (the time will be determined by the Office). *please always write in full the name of the month (e.g.: from 01 January 2013 to 08 January 2013)
4.E-mail address, or fax number, or a complete postal address.

Visits to the Tomb of Saint Peter – ENTRANCE FEE:

The cost of the individual ticket, including the contribution for the Guide, is 12,00 Euros(approximately $ 15.50 USD)
[From January 1, 2013: The cost of the individual ticket is 13,00 Euros(approximately $ 16.50 USD)].
No reductions in price will be given for any reason.


Arrive at the Excavations Office at least 10 minutes before the scheduled time of the visit.
Clothing should be appropriate for a sacred place:  long trousers/slacks/jeans for men; dresses that reach below the knees or long trousers/slacks/jeans for women; shoulders must be covered for all.
Entrance to the Excavations Office is only through the gates located on the Via Paolo VI (outside of the Colonnade, just to the south [left], near the entrance to the General Audience Hall.)  Upon arrival, present the Swiss Guards with your letter of confirmation received from the Office which indicates the scheduled time of your visit.

Visits to the Tomb of Saint Peter – Depositing prohibited items:

The following objects are absolutely prohibited during the visit:
luggage / large bags
backpacks /cameras
These [and similar] objects must be deposited before reaching the Office.

A DEPOSIT area free of charge for these objects is available to the right of the façade of the Basilica at ground floor level of the Basilica’s premises passed the security check areas.  We are glad to provide this service and the objects deposited are supervised by our staff. Anyone who does not observe these regulations will not be allowed to participate in the visit.

Visits to the Tomb of Saint Peter – OFFICE HOURS:

Monday – Friday:  9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Saturday: 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
The last visit always begins at 3:30 p.m. (4:15p.m. from April through September).
Closed:  Sundays and Vatican Holydays

The walking tour itinerary

Saint Peter’s is a stop of my “One day walking tour” in Rome. Check out the itinerary.