Directly underneath the nave of the Basilica of Saint Peter in Rome there is an old dirt road that leads, through the Vatican Necropolis, to the tomb of Saint Peter himself.
Saint Peter’s Tomb Rome
Address, opening hours and admission
A visit to Saint Peter’s Tomb is part of the visit to the Vatican Necropolis.
History and description
Saint Peter’s Tomb was found underneath the High Altar during the first years of the Papacy of Pope Pius XII Pacelli (1939-1958), who commissioned archeological excavations in the spot where the Chapel of the Confession and the Sacred Grottoes were thought to be found.
Saint Peter‘s grave was in reality no more than a humble pit in front of the Circus of Nero, background of the relentless persecutions of the Christians.
One century later the so-called Trophy of Gaius was placed at the site of Saint Peter‘s martyrdom and quickly became a pilgrimage site, as testified by several graffiti on the remains of a nearby wall, known as “Wall G”.
The Emperor Constantine, friend of Christians, had a monument built on the site, to which other important altars were added at later dates, i.e. The Altar of St. Gregory the Great (590-604), the altar of Calixtus II (1123) and the altar of Clement VIII (1594).
The tomb is supposed to be right underneath Bernini’s canopy and Michelangelo’s dome.