Categories: Catholic, Families, Italy, Rome
Practical Information for St. Peter’s Basilica:
- Photography: Let’s begin with what is near and dear to my heart. Photography is allowed nearly everywhere. Exceptions include any areas where Mass is being held, Adoration is being held, and the Vatican Grottos. The Grotto is the basement crypt where the Popes and others are buried. Any areas where photography is not allowed will be clearly marked. If you somehow do not see these signs, one of the employees/guards standing nearby will come over and call it to your attention. I think those guards are fluent with ‘no camera’ in at least a dozen languages each.
- Entry to St. Peter’s Basilica is always FREE.
- You will read and hear about the lines and the crowds. In September, which is the ‘shoulder season’, I arrived both days around 8-8:30am. I never waited in line to get inside the *Basilica* and it was not crowded at all. On one of the days, more people began arriving after lunch.
- After the Pope has made a public appearance, you cannot enter the Basilica for several hours. Schedule something else those days.
- Rent the audio guide. It’s only 5 Euros and well worth the money. You will find the audio guide stand just inside the doors to the right. The only catch to getting an audio guide is you must either surrender your passport or 50 Euros. After my fiasco, my passport was my only form of I.D. Plus, despite their assurance she never loses anything, I watched the employees walk away from their stations numerous times. Call me nervous but I would have much preferred to lose 50 Euros than my passport. In a foreign country. With no other form of I.D. When I returned my audio guide, I received my 50 Euros back.
- Confessionals are spread out with small signs with the languages each priest can speak. You may only confess your sins in a language the priest understands. You would be hard pressed to find a language not represented. If you do run into that problem, feel free to ask one of the employees nearby for a priest who speaks your language.
- Strollers: This will be possibly the most important thing for those traveling with small children. Strollers are banned inside the Basilica. I have no idea why except perhaps to keep the traffic flow from becoming clogged? You can check your stroller at the front.