Saint Peter's tomb is situated under St. Peter's Basilica and has been originally built by Emperor Constantine to memorialize the location of St. Peter's grave.
St Peter's tomb is located at The Vatican Necropolis, also known as the Scavi which lies under St. Peter's Basilica, at depths varying between 5 and 12 meters below the basilica.
Visits to the Scavi must be arranged in advance addressed to the Ufficio degli Scavi, Fabbrica di San Pietro by specifying the desired date and indicating the language in which the tour is to be conducted. Lasting about an hour and a half, the tour ends at Saint Peter's tomb before returning to the basilica. Due to limits placed by conservation efforts, only small groups of 10 to 15 people are permitted at a time.
The Vatican sponsored archeological excavations under Saint Peter's in the years 1940 - 1949 which revealed parts of a necropolis dating to Imperial times. The work was undertaken at the request of Pope Pius XI who wished to be buried as close as possible to Peter the Apostle. Peter is said to be buried there due to its proximity to the Circus of Nero where he was martyred. It is also home to the Tomb of the Julii, which has been dated to the third or fourth century.
According to the Vatican official website, a visit to the necropolis is a privilege. Due to the need to give careful attention to the conservation of this irreplaceable historical archaeological site, wherein lies the preserved original grave of St. Peter, only about 200 visitors per day are permitted in the necropolis.
Those who wish to visit the necropolis must make personal reservations in writing to The Excavations Office. Upon applications being approved, confirmations for visits will only be sent to those who will actually be visiting the necropolis. The visitor must always confirm his reservation in the way and during the time period given by the Excavations Office in positive responses to requests.
Reservations are only accepted in writing (by email, fax or directly in the Excavations Office.)
The Excavations Office
00120 Vatican City
Tel. +39 06 6988.5318
Fax +39 06 6987.3017 - 6988.5518
The Excavations Office is open daily from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm, except Sundays and holidays.
The Excavations Office may be reached through the Holy Office Gate to the Vatican (through the colonnade to the left, on Via Paolo VI). The Swiss Guard will direct the visitors to the Office.
With your request to visit the excavations, please provide the following information:
- The exact number of visitors.
- Their names (in case of groups, the composition and provenance of the group is also needed [e.g. university, parish, etc.]).
- Language desired for the visit.
- The dates available during which the Office can arrange the visit (The precise time of the visit will be determined by the Excavations Office).
- Contact information (an e-mail address, fax number, or full postal address) so that the Excavations Office may advise you about your visit.
If you do not have the opportunity to visit the tomb of St. Peter in the Vatican Necropolis in Rome, you can now visit the Vatican Necropolis right from the comfort of your home.
Walk through The Vatican Necropolis to see the original tomb of St. Peter:
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