Entrance to St Peter’s Basilica: Discover the Secret Doors!

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St. Peter’s Basilica is a massive church standing on St. Peter’s Square, with two entrances leading to the inside.

You can also find three other entrances leading to different parts of the Basilica reserved for the tours. 

First-time visitors find it challenging to navigate the Basilica and find the entrance of their choice when the church is crowded. 

In this article, we’ll give you the exact location of all St Peter’s Basilica entrances, their timings, and all the important details so you can access every entry! 

The Main Entrance to St Peter’s Basilica

As soon as you arrive at St. Peter’s Square, you will see a majestic entrance to the Basilica, to which many visitor lines lead.

This central entrance is the main entrance to the Basilica and is the only way to enter the space for free! 

It lines up with the Obelisk standing at St. Peter’s Square and is easy to spot from far away.

The line to get inside from this entrance is the longest and can take around two hours to move during the peak tourist season.

If you are in a hurry, we recommend booking a St Peter’s Basilica Guided Tour to enter from a less crowded door. 

Ticket Price: Free Entry

Opening Hours: April to September from 7 am to 7 pm, and 7 am to 6.30 pm from October to March. 

Wait Time: 1 to 2 hours. 

To get to the Cupola: For Guided Tour.

The Cupola, or St Peter’s Dome, is the highest point in the Vatican City and the best way to see the surrounding scenery and gardens.

Visitors ascending to the top can find the Cupola entrance on the portico’s right side.

You will find a sign at the main entrance leading you to this spot. 

Once you get close to the ticket office, you will easily spot the entrance, which is an elevator and steps leading to the top. 

Only those on a guided tour or entry ticket to the Dome can enter the Basilica through this entrance. 

You will find much fewer crowds at this entrance, and it is highly recommended for visitors in a hurry! 

Ticket Price: €29 (with audio guide)

Opening Hours: 8 am to 6 pm from April to September and 8 am to 4.45 pm from October to March. 

Wait time: Around an hour

The Secret Doorway: Least Crowded Entrance

Most first-time visitors are unaware of this secret shortcut leading from the Sistine Chapel directly to the inside of St. Peter’s Basilica!

You will spot this hidden doorway on the right side of the Sistine Chapel.

Visitors who want to take this quick secret entry must have a guided tour ticket to the Vatican Museum. 

We recommend getting a combo guided tour of St Peter’s Basilica, with the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel, which skips the line, so you can save more money and access the shortcut! 

You cannot access this entrance if you only have a simple entrance ticket to the Vatican Museum and Sistine Chapel; You must be a part of a guided tour to access this entrance. 

Ticket Price: €115

Opening Hours: 8 am to 7 pm from Monday to Thursday. Friday & Saturdays from 8 am to 8 pm. From 9 am to 2 pm on the last Sunday. 

Wait Time: Depends on the crowd in the Chapel and Basilica.

Please note: This shortcut door might only be open on some days of the week. In case it is closed, the guided tour will enter the Basilica from the main entrance, and you must wait in line.

Entry to the Sacristy & Treasury Museum

The Sacristy and Treasury Museum is a gallery accessible only through St. Peter’s Basilica.

This means you must enter the Basilica through the main entrance before entering the museum from below the Monument of St. Pius VIII.

The Sacristy and Treasury Museum houses many 1st-century artworks, the Papal tiara, and other sacred and historical artifacts. 

Ticket Price: Free 

Opening Hours: April to September, 7 am to 7 pm, and 7 am to 6.30 pm from October to March. 

Wait Time: 45 minutes

Entry to the Sacristy & Treasury Museum

The Sacristy and Treasury Museum is a gallery accessible only through St. Peter’s Basilica.

This means you must enter the Basilica through the main entrance before entering the museum from below the Monument of St. Pius VIII.

The Sacristy and Treasury Museum houses many 1st-century artworks, the Papal tiara, and other sacred and historical artifacts. 

Ticket Price: Free 

Opening Hours: April to September, 7 am to 7 pm, and 7 am to 6.30 pm from October to March. 

Wait Time: 45 minutes

The Porta Santa or Bronze Door Entrance: Opens on the Jubilee Year

The Bronze Door, also known as the Porta Santa, opens every Jubilee Year, every twenty-five years.

The Pope does a holy ritual of striking this door with a hammer and opening it to the pilgrims.

It stands on the atrium’s right end, and you will see it is now walled up from the inside.

The last time this door was open was in 2000, so you can see the Pope open this door next year in 2025!

FAQs on Entrance to St Peter’s Basilica

1. Which is the least crowded entrance to St Peter’s Basilica?

2. Is entrance to St Peter’s Basilica free?

3. Where is the entrance to St Peter’s Basilica?

4. From where can I enter the Vatican Grottoes?

5. From where is the entrance to climb to the top of the Dome?

6. How many St Peter’s Basilica entrances exist?

7. Where can I find the entrance to the Sacristy and Treasury Museum?

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Featured Image: CARLOSCRUZ ARTEGRAFIA / Pexels

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