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Vatican Obelisk (Obelisco Vaticano) Tours

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Vatican Obelisk (Obelisco Vaticano)
At the center of St. Peter's Square, the second tallest Egyptian obelisk in Rome soars 84 feet (26 meters) into the air to signify the Catholic church's power. Brought from Heliopolis to Rome by Caligula in AD 37, the red-granite obelisk was moved to its current location by Pope Sixtus V in 1586.

The Basics

The Vatican Obelisk (Obelisco Vaticano)—one of 13 obelisks in Rome, and the only one said to have never been toppled—is best visited with a guide on a tour that touches on multiple Vatican highlights, including St. Peter's Basilica, Michelangelo’s dome, and Vatican Museums. These sites' vast collection of art is best appreciated on a private tour with skip-the-line tickets to avoid long entrance lines. In-depth Vatican tours may also include Vatican Gardens and Vatican Grottoes.

Things to Know Before You Go

  • The square and its sights are accessible to wheelchair users.
  • There is no dress code to enter the square, but to enter St. Peter's Basilica, your clothing must cover your shoulders and knees.
  • Wear a hat and sunscreen and bring water if visiting in summer, as there is little shade in the square and no cafes or bars.
  • Expect a security check to enter the basilica, but pedestrians entering the square are only screened on days when a papal audience is scheduled.

How to Get There
St. Peter’s Square is easily reached via metro line A, Ottaviano stop. To appreciate its overall architecture, approach the obelisk by walking up Via della Conciliazione to the square. 

When to Get There
The square is often crowded during the opening hours of St. Peter's Basilica, so consider joining an evening or early-entry Vatican tour to see the Vatican Obelisk in St. Peter's Square in relative peace.

Mysteries and Legends of the Obelisk
For centuries, the decorative gilt ball on the top of the obelisk was believed to hold the ashes of Julius Caesar, but when architect Domenico Fontana removed the ancient metal ball to move the obelisk to St. Mark’s Square, he found only dust inside. The claim that a relic from Christ’s cross is set in the metal of the cross topping the obelisk has never been proven true or false and remains an unsolved mystery.
Address: St. Peter's Square, Vatican City 00120, Italy
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10 Tours and Activities to Experience Vatican Obelisk (Obelisco Vaticano)

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Meet Pope Francis at St Peter square Vatican CityHalf-day Tours

Meet Pope Francis at St Peter square Vatican City

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Attend a Papal Audience with Pope Francis I at the Vatican. Tickets may be free but they are extremely hard to come by, so booking in advance is essential. By booking ahead, you're ensuring you won't waste any time trying to get tickets while you're on vacation in the Eternal City. 
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St. Peter's Basilica : Fast Entry Guided Tour with Vatican official guidesCity Packages

St. Peter's Basilica : Fast Entry Guided Tour with Vatican official guides

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To dig deep into the history and art of St Peter’s Basilica, explore the church on a walking tour with a Vatican guide. From St Peter’s Square, walk to the basilica, jumping past the entrance queue with your No Wait Access Ticket. Inside, listen to stories about the popes, pilgrims and Renaissance art masters who have left their marks on this iconic Catholic site, whose Michelangelo-designed dome dominates the Rome skyline.
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Skip the Line: Small Group Stories of the Vatican Tour including St. Peter's BasilicaHalf-day Tours

Skip the Line: Small Group Stories of the Vatican Tour including St. Peter's Basilica

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Experience an insider’s view of the Vatican Museums on this 3.5-hour, small-group tour. First, skip the line at the Vatican Museums’ entrance, and head in to explore its main exhibits. Your guide tells you little-known facts along the way that many other tour guide don’t know. Visit the Hall of Maps, the Belvedere Courtyard, and the Sistine Chapel. Plus afterward, skip the lines at St. Peter’s Basilica, too.
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Fast Track Access Vatican Museums Sistine Chapel & St Peters Basilica Tour

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Save time, and head straight to the Vatican’s most popular sights and attractions, on this seamless and speedy tour. Pick from morning or afternoon departure times, and meet your guide. With skip-the-line tickets, you’ll beat the crowds and head straight into the Vatican Museums. Discover the Sistine Chapel at your own pace, and follow your guide directly to the museums’ other highlights. Your final stop is at the neighboring St. Peter’s Basilica.
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Rome by Night TourBus Tours

Rome by Night Tour

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Rome is magical at night. Find out just how incredible the Eternal City is at night with this 2-hour guided sightseeing tour of Rome. Criss-cross the Italian capital via comfortable coach and, in the Centro Storico by foot. See the sites of Ancient Rome and visit Vatican City. See the Colosseum illuminated. Stroll through romantic Piazza Navona and toss a coin or two in the Trevi Fountain for good luck and to ensure you'll return.
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St. Peter’s Basilica may grab you with its grandeur, but much of its history lies in its hidden details. Head beneath the famous church and discover the Vatican necropolis, a Roman cemetery that’s said to house the relics of St. Peter the Apostle. Walk amid tombs that trace pagan Rome to the start of Christianity, then return to the basilica for a tour. Michelangelo’s ‘La Pietà’ and Bernini’s bronze baldachin are among the highlights.
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Skip the Lines: Saint Peter Basilica & Treasury Museum in the Vatican CityCity Packages

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Skip the Line: Small-Group Vatican Museums Breakfast Tour including the Sistine ChapelFamous Places In Rome

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Skip-the-line with priority access to the Vatican Museums and St. Peter’s Basilica, and enjoy a hassle-free morning exploring one of the world’s most legendary art collections. Kick off your 3.5-hour tour with a delicious Italian-style breakfast as you enjoy a special sit-down presentation of the Sistine Chapel. Then, head inside to marvel over Renaissance masterpieces by artists like Botticelli, Perugino and Raphael, and admire Michelangelo’s magnificent Sistine Chapel. Best of all, this small-group tour is limited to 8 people, ensuring an intimate, headset-free experience with one-to-one attention from your guide.
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St. Peter’s Basilica is one of the world’s great repositories of art and architecture and taking it in on your own can be overwhelming. With this private tour, visit with a guide to learn about this magnificent church’s history and treasures. Save time with priority access and admire the highlights inside at a more relaxed pace while you hear about the popes, saints, and artists who left their mark over the centuries.
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Frequently Asked Questions

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