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St. Peter’s Basilica and Sistine Chapel – tickets, best time to visit, dress code

St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel are renowned for their beautiful architecture, incredible art, and deep history. 

So when you look around and take in the grandeur of the Basilica or admire the stunning frescoes in the Sistine Chapel, remember you’re surrounded by centuries of culture and spirituality—an ethereal feeling! 

In this article, we’ll cover both these attractions and offer tips on how to make the most of your visit there.

Tickets for St. Peter’s Basilica and Sistine Chapel

Do you know there’s a special entrance from the Chapel to the Basilica? 

You can access this when you buy a guided tour ticket for St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel.

Moreover, if you enjoy walking through such famous attractions, you might like a walking tour of the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica

With this guided tour, your designated guide will share details and snippets about these world-renowned attractions with you and your group. 

Since the Sistine Chapel is religious, you can’t predict how busy it will be. You might have to wait a while to get in, even with tickets.

If you are looking for a worthwhile tip, we suggest you buy a skip-the-line ticket to the Sistine Chapel. 

This ticket lets you avoid the long queues at the chapel and gives you access to St. Peter’s Basilica.

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Are St. Peter’s Basilica and Sistine Chapel the same?

St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel are not the same; they are distinct landmarks within the Vatican City.

St. Peter’s is one of the largest churches in the world and a central work of Renaissance architecture. 

It is known for its large, impressive dome designed by Michelangelo. It features detailed decor and many valuable art pieces, such as Michelangelo’s Pietà.

The basilica is built on what is traditionally believed to be the tomb of St. Peter, one of Christ’s Apostles and the first Pope.

What most people get wrong is this assumption that the Sistine Chapel is in the Basilica.

Well, the Chapel is a separate building within the Vatican Museum and is famous for its exquisite frescoed ceiling painted by Michelangelo himself. 

This masterpiece includes scenes from the book of Genesis and the iconic image, the Creation of Adam

The chapel also hosts the Papal conclave, which is basically the process of selecting a new pope.

To sum up, while the Chapel and Basilica are in close proximity, they aren’t in the same building. 

Nevertheless, despite serving different religious and cultural functions, tourists often club their visits to these attractions.

Read more about what’s inside St. Peter’s Basilica.

Can you enter St. Peter’s Basilica from the Sistine Chapel?

Yes, entering the church directly from the Sistine Chapel is possible. 

However, this route is reserved for guided tour tickets, meaning you can only access this path when you buy the tour package. 

The benefit of buying this ticket is that it offers you direct access to both the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica.

It allows you to bypass the often lengthy queues at the Basilica’s main entrance. 

This can save a lot of time, especially during peak tourist seasons. 

For individuals visiting both attractions independently, the usual practice is to exit the Vatican Museum (Sistine Chapel) and enter the church separately.

Guided Tour of Sistine Chapel
Image: GetYourGuide

Distance between the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica

St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel are situated adjacent to each other. 

The distance between them depends on your route within the Vatican complex. 

Walking straight from the Chapel to the Basilica is about 800 meters (around half a mile), and it usually takes 10 to 15 minutes—depending on how fast you walk and how crowded it is!

You can leave the Chapel, walk through part of the Vatican Museum, and head toward the Basilica.

If you have to go through security checks when entering the Basilica, it might take longer due to the peak-hour crowds.

Hence, we recommend you buy the ticket and enjoy your chapel and church tour.

How to reach 

You can enter St. Peter’s Basilica from the Sistine Chapel side or visit both attractions separately.

We suggest you buy the guided tour ticket for the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica, as you get special access to the Basilica. 

This ticket assures you the best and shortest way to explore the chapel and church at your convenience and time.

If you haven’t bought the above ticket and want to explore these attractions independently, here’s what you should do after leaving the Sistine Chapel:

1. Leave the Sistine Chapel and follow the exit signs through the Vatican Museum.

2. Once you exit the Museums, walk around the Vatican City walls to reach St. Peter’s Square.

3. Then walk along the Via della Conciliazione or nearby streets. Get Directions

4. Enter the square and head toward the Basilica.

5. Regardless of the time and season, you must go through a security check before entering the church.

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# St. Peter’s Basilica facts
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Dress Code to enter St. Peter’s Basilica and Sistine Chapel 

Since both the Basilica and Chapel are holy places, you are required to dress modestly and respectfully.

Wear comfortable shoes as both the attractions are huge and require a lot of walking around. 

You need to cover your shoulders and knees and avoid tank tops, sleeveless shirts, shorts, and mini skirts.

Also, you will not be allowed to wear hats inside the attractions. 

Best time to visit both attractions

The best time to visit St. Peter’s Basilica and the Sistine Chapel is during the off-peak season.

Also, it would be great if you arrived early, ideally before the opening.

St. Peter’s opens at 7 am, and the Vatican Museum, which includes the Sistine Chapel, opens at 9 am.

If you can’t make it in the morning, the next best time to visit the Chapel is in the late afternoon—between 1.30 and 3.30 pm as the last entry is at 4 pm.

The Basilica can be busier or have restricted access on Wednesday mornings because of the Papal Audience.

However, this might be a good time to visit the Vatican Museum instead.

The Vatican Museum is free on the last Sunday of each month but gets crowded. Hence, we suggest you skip visiting on that Sunday.

Regardless of when you visit these attractions, we recommend you book a guided tour of the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica in advance to save time.

Another point to note is to always check the Vatican’s official calendar before your visit for any special events or closures.

Check out all the things to do in Rome

This article was researched & written by

Edited by Rekha Rajan & fact checked by Jamshed V Rajan

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