A Detailed Guide to St Peter’s Basilica Dress Code!

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The Vatican City and all its attractions follow a dress code for all visitors to comply with when exploring the city. 

If you do not dress per the dress code, you cannot attend masses by the Pope or explore the marvelous interiors of St. Peter’s Basilica. 

Locals and all tourists must know the strict guidelines to follow when exploring St. Peter’s Basilica to have a pleasant experience! 

In this article, we’ll discover the general dressing guidelines to follow and tell you what to do if you’re not in the dress code at the Basilica. 

The Dress Code for St Peter’s Basilica at a glance

Clothing allowed in St Peter’s BasilicaClothing prohibited in St. Peter’s Basilica
Long or short-sleeved shirts and blouses that cover your shoulders.Off-the-shoulder, cropped, or low-cut tops and tank tops. 
Jeans and long pants or trousers. Skirts, dresses, or pants that go above the knee and ripped jeans. 
Plain T-shirts without any graphicsOffensive t-shirt or pant graphics and visible body tattoos.
Good walking shoes with a firm grip. (Not in the rules; any type of footwear is allowed inside)Hats, caps, and sunglasses. 

General St. Peter’s Basilica dress code guidelines

Ensure your shoulders are covered: Wear short or long-sleeved shirts, tops, or blouses. Carry a shawl or jacket if your outfit needs extra coverage. 

Ensure trousers and skirts cover the knee: All visitors must wear pants, skirts, dresses, or trousers that go below the knee. 

Cover Tattoos: Since tattoos go against the religion, we recommend covering them with clothes. If you are unable to, try to cover it up with makeup or tattoo cover-up tape. 

No caps/hats/sunglasses: No headgear is allowed for men inside the Basilica as a matter of respect to the space. 

Comfortable shoes with grip: Go for comfortable shoes with a strong grip to avoid injuring yourself by standing for hours or slipping on the marble flooring. 

No offensive graphics: Ensure your t-shirts do not have any bad words, inappropriate images, or offensive symbols on them. 

St Peter’s Basilica Dress Code

The Basilica follows a strict dress code, no matter the season or time of day, that all locals and tourists must follow when entering.

If you are out of the dress code, you will be turned away by the security and attendants of the Basilica.

Men’s Dress Code

Formal clothes like long trousers and a nice long or short-sleeved shirt are the most preferred option for men since it is a sacred space.

If you’re visiting in summer, opt for long and lightweight cotton or cargo pants or jeans without rips in them. 

You can wear any type of clothing that covers your shoulders and knees.

Please do not wear any baseball caps or sunglasses on your head when entering the holy space of the Basilica. 

Men should avoid:

  • Casual tank tops & graphic t-shirts.
  • Short pants or pants that will expose your knees.
  • Vests.

Sometimes, during the summer, men might be allowed inside with knee-length or short pants, but there is no guarantee of this as the rules change regularly. 

You can wear t-shirts, but if has any offensive words or graphics, you won’t be allowed inside the Basilica. 

Women’s Dress Code 

Like the men’s dress code, women cannot wear sleeveless or off-the-shoulder tops that expose their shoulders.

Women should also avoid wearing short skirts, dresses, and pants to the Basilica.

Please avoid crop tops and other clothing with cut-outs that expose your stomach or back.

Women can enter the Basilica with hats or caps on.

Women should not wear:

  • Cropped, off-shoulder, or sleeveless tops. 
  • Deep necklines or backless tops and dresses.
  • Short skirts and dresses above the knee. 

We recommend carrying a shawl or a thin cardigan if you are asked to cover up in the Basilica for any reason.

Kid’s Dress Code

Kids must follow the same dress code as adults when visiting the St Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City.

Parents must ensure young kids wear long dresses or pants that cover their knees and no sleeveless tops. 

The best option for boys in the summer season is a light-weight bright-colored T-shirt and some good trousers.

Summer dresses are an excellent option for girls. 

St Peter’s Basilica Mass Dress Code

If you plan to attend the St. Peter’s Basilica mass, we recommend you wear a more formal attire than usual.

Men should wear long trousers with a well-ironed shirt and take off their hats before entering the Basilica.

Women can wear long dresses or skirts, a formal blouse, a coat, and some delicate jewelry to make them look dressed up. 

We recommend letting your young kids wear appropriate clothing that makes them feel comfortable enough to sit quietly during the mass.

It can be warmer in the Basilica because of the huge crowd, so avoid wearing clothing made of any thick materials. 

St. Peter’s Basilica Dress Code Shoes

There is no particular dress code for shoes, so you can wear whatever keeps you comfortable. 

For shoes, we recommend men and women wear comfortable sneakers or flat sandals that let you walk around for longer.

Try to wear footwear with a good grip so you don’t slip on the marble flooring of the Basilica.

We don’t recommend wearing high heels to the Basilica, as seating space is hard to find during the masses and standing for an hour in heels would be uncomfortable. 

Why does the Basilica follow a dress code?

St Peter’s Basilica is the most sacred spot in the holy Vatican City and is a place of great religious significance for all Roman Catholics.

It is also the only church of the Vatican, and the Pope celebrates all the high festive masses in the Basilica.

Under the church lays the tomb of St. Peter, who was murdered in Nero’s Circus along with many other Catholics. 

To pay reverence and respect to the customs and beliefs of the Catholics while maintaining the holy atmosphere of the Basilica, you must follow the dress code.

Showing too much skin while exploring the city will be offensive; hence, you cannot even enter Vatican City if you do not follow the dress code. 

What should I do if I am not following the dress code?

The Basilica sometimes offers shawls or other cover-up materials if you are out of the dress code.

However, we do not recommend counting on this as there is still a chance that you might be turned away.

If you have not yet entered the city and are not in the dress code, we recommend buying a cheap shawl from anywhere in Rome.

Visitors already inside the City might find shawls in the St. Peter’s Square stores, but these might be slightly expensive to purchase.

FAQs for St Peter’s Basilica Dress Code

1. What is the dress code for St Peter’s Basilica?

2. Do you need to cover up in St Peter’s Basilica?

3. Can men wear shorts in St Peter’s Basilica?

4. Are hats allowed in St Peter’s Basilica?

5. Can I wear a T-shirt to the Basilica?

6. Can I wear leggings to the Basilica?

7. What should I wear when attending the St. Peter’s Basilica mass?

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