St. Peter's Basilica Floor Plan

The Majestic Floor Plan of St. Peter's Basilica

St. Peter's Basilica, located within Vatican City, is one of the most iconic and magnificent structures in the world. The St. Peter's Basilica floor plan reflects its grandeur and significance as the epicenter of Roman Catholicism. The basilica's layout is a masterpiece of Renaissance and Baroque architecture, designed primarily by Donato Bramante, Michelangelo, Carlo Maderno, and Gian Lorenzo Bernini. The floor plan is a vast cruciform shape, forming a Latin cross, with a central nave flanked by aisles. The impressive dome crowns the crossing of the nave and transepts, soaring to a height of 448 feet (136.6 meters). The main entrance leads into the vast narthex, followed by the grand atrium, known as the Portico of St. Peter's. Upon entering the basilica, visitors are awe-struck by the ornate interior, featuring numerous chapels, altars, and sculptures, including Michelangelo's famous Pietà.

The St Peter's Basilica floor plan encompasses the high altar, positioned directly above the reputed tomb of St. Peter. The papal altar and the renowned bronze canopy by Bernini, called the Baldacchino, dominate the main apse. Surrounding the main altar are the four massive piers, each supporting colossal statues, adding to the basilica's majestic beauty. The intricate and harmonious design of the floor plan of St. Peter's Basilica symbolizes the faith and splendor of the Catholic Church, drawing millions of pilgrims and tourists from around the world to witness its magnificence.

St. Peter's Basilica Floor Plans

The Doors
  • The Portico: The Portico of St. Peter's Basilica is larger than most churches in the world and houses several significant features. These include The Holy Door, Giotto's Navicella, and John XXIII's coat of arms.

  • The Holy Door: The Holy Door, also known as the Porta Sancta, is opened by the Pope every 25 years. The last time it was opened was in the year 2000, and it holds great significance for pilgrims seeking indulgence and blessings.

  • The Filarete Door: The Filarete Door, dating back to 1445, was originally part of the Old St. Peter's Basilica. It depicts scenes of the martyrdom of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, adding to its historical and artistic value.

  • The Door of Death: The Door of Death, designed by Giacomo Mazù, served as an exit for funeral processions in the past. It carries its own unique symbolism and architectural significance within the basilica.

  • Elevator to the Dome: To the right of the Portico, there is an elevator that takes visitors to the base of the Dome, offering a convenient way to reach the top. Alternatively, visitors can choose to climb the "stairs for the brave" for a more challenging but rewarding experience.
The Structures
  • Statue of Emperor Constantine: The statue of Emperor Constantine, a masterpiece by Bernini, portrays the leader before his battle when he had a vision of the cross.

  • The Pieta: Michelangelo's Pieta, created when he was only 24 years old and installed before 1500, represents a spiritual portrayal of human suffering.

  • The Chapel of St. Sebastian: The Chapel of St. Sebastian has a mosaic altarpiece honoring the martyrdom of the Saint and also houses the remains of the Blessed Innocent XI under its altar.

  • The Blessed Sacrament Chapel: This Chapel, dedicated for prayer and mass, features angels and a tabernacle designed by Bernini.
The Works

Altar of Saint Jerome: Beneath this altar lies the body of Pope John XXIII, which was brought here in the year 2001. 

Confessio: In this section, there is a bronze urn containing the Pallium, which is given to every new archbishop. St. Peter’s Tomb lies behind the Pallium.  

Papal Altar and the Baldicchino: Bernini’s first work in the basilica was Baldicchino. After the 9 years, he spent working on it, it was proudly placed above the Papal Altar. 

The Right Transept: This area is now used for confession, however, early it was a meeting place for the First Vatican Council in 1869. 

The Throne of St. Peter: One of the main highlights of the basilica is the Throne of Peter, a wooden throne believed to have belonged to the Apostle himself.

The Baptistery Chapel: Designed by Carlo Fontana, the glorious Baptistery Chapel is still used today, resting on an ancient sarcophagus cover.

Other Structures

The Monument of Alexander VII: This striking monument shows the skeleton of death rising from below, one of Bernini’s most distinguishable works. 

Left Transept and Altar of Saint Peter: This altar is the spot which is closest to where Peter the Apostle was crucified.

Statue of Saint Andrew: Paving the way to the Vatican Grottoes is this notable statue of St. Peter’s brother, Andrew. 

Sacristy and Treasury: Many valuable items donated to the Church are kept inside the Sacristy and Treasury Museum. The entrance to the museum can be found under the Monument of Pope Pius VIII.  

The Presentation Chapel: Under the altar of this chapel lies the body of Saint Pius X in a crystal coffin, clothed in pontifical robes.


How big is St. Peter's Basilica?

St. Peter's Basilica is one of the largest churches in the world, with a total area of 22,000 square meters. The length of the basilica is about 190 meters, and the width is approximately 140 meters.

What structures are part of the St. Peter's Basilica floor plan?

The St. Peter's Basilica floor plan comprises several structures, including the central nave, flanked by two aisles and chapels along the sides, the transept marked by a large dome, the sacristies, and the Vatican Grottoes.

Where is the elevator to the Dome on the St. Peter's Basilica floor plan?

The elevator to the dome is located near the sacristy on the St. Peter's Basilica floor plan. Visitors can take the elevator to the base of the dome and then climb a narrow staircase to the top of the dome, where they can enjoy stunning views of Rome

Where is the Papal Altar on the St. Peter's Basilica floor plan?

The Papal Altar, also known as the Altar of the Confession, is located in front of the baldachin in the center of the Basilica on the St. Peter's Basilica floor plan. This altar is considered the holiest place in the basilica and is where the Pope celebrates mass.

What altars are part of St. Peter's Basilica?

St. Peter's Basilica has several altars, including the Altar of the Chair, the Altar of the Transfiguration, and the Altar of St. Joseph. Each of these altars is located in different parts of the basilica and is dedicated to a specific saint or event in Christian history.

Where in St. Peter's Basilica is mass held?

Masses at St. Peter's Basilica by the Altar of St. Joseph, the Altar of the Chair of St. Peter, and the Blessed Sacrament Chapel.

What chapels are part of St. Peter's Basilica?

Within the floor plan of St. Peter's Basilica, numerous chapels are incorporated, among them being The Chapel of St. Sebastian, The Blessed Sacrament Chapel, and The Baptistery Chapel.

Where is the Chair of St. Peter in the St. Peter's Basilica?

On the floor plan of St. Peter's Basilica, the Church's Apse is depicted situated behind the Papal Altar. Within the Apse lies the Chair of St. Peter.


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